Gore, Supporters Canvas New Hampshire
About 15 students piled into a van early Sunday morning, hitting the New Hampshire campaign trail to rally support for Vice President Al Gore '69 in his quest for the presidency.
The group--organized by Students for Gore--traveled to Nashua, N. H., where they joined nearly 50 volunteers, some local and others from Tufts University, Boston University, Boston College and MIT.
The volunteers spent the day canvassing door to door in Merrimack and Milford, two small towns outside Nashua, asking registered Democrats whether they plan to support Gore or his opponent, former Senator Bill Bradley, in the upcoming February primary.
Joseph N. Sanberg '00, president of the Harvard-Radcliffe College Democrats, said the voters' responses will be helpful later in the election, when the campaign will need to call upon supporters to vote and to sway undecided voters.
The highlight of the day was a personal appearance by Gore in Merrimack. After spending about 30 minutes doing personal door-to-door canvassing, Gore met with the group of volunteers, shaking hands and thanking them for their support.
"The young men and women who support us are extremely effective and make a huge difference," Gore told The Crimson. "They are often responsible for the shifts in momentum in a campaign. Their enthusiasm and hard work is amazing and I can't thank them enough for their support."
After they met Gore, the volunteers continued to brave cold temperatures as they walked though different neighborhoods all day in order to gauge Gore's support base.
Volunteers provided pamphlets on Gore's stances on issues such as education and health care, and answered residents' questions.
While some residents were less than enthused to see the volunteers, most were very responsive and open-minded. One Gore supporter invited a pair of volunteers inside her home to have hot cocoa and discuss Gore.
"New Hampshire is unique because it is one of the few states where door-to-door campaigning is still effective," Sanberg said. "Candidates can get out there one-on-one with the voters, instead of using just television and the media."
Several volunteers remained at Gore's New Hampshire headquarters in Nashua for the afternoon, making hundreds of phone calls to local residents, seeing whom they supported and if they were interested in joining the Gore campaign.
The results of volunteer efforts are starting to show, according to Gore campaign workers in Nashua. In recent polls, Gore has gained a strong lead over Bradley in New Hampshire for the first time since August, they said.
"I think the momentum is definitely shifting towards Gore," Sanberg said. "Voters are getting to know who Gore is, seeing his vision and what he potentially offers as president. He's having a personal conversation with the people, and they like him."
Several other members of the College Democrats showed their support for Bill Bradley on Saturday, canvassing through neighborhoods in Manchester, N. H. The College Democrats have officially remained neutral between Bradley and Gore, endorsing neither candidate for the Democratic nomination.
Students supporting both candidates will be attending a College Democrats conference next weekend at Princeton, which will include representation from all of the Ivy League schools.
"It's great to see students showing support for both Gore and Bradley," said Alejandro R. Rodriguez '03, a member of the College Democrats. "Hopefully, once everyone sees what a great candidate Gore is, we will all unite behind him for the general election."