French Socialists Adopt Obama-Style Campaign Tactics

Saturday, 28 Apr 2012 04:16 PM

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NIMES, France -- French Socialists are taking a page from President Barack Obama's playbook in their bid to get Francois Hollande elected as the nation's next president.

Teams of Socialist activists are undertaking a door-to-door campaign inspired by Obama’s successful 2008 campaign, according to the news service FRANCE 24.

FRANCE 24 joined a small team of Socialist Party canvassers in Nimes in southern France, for a final grass-roots effort before the presidential election on May 6 when incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy faces Socialist Francois Hollande in the second round.

American-style campaigning has become a key strategy for the Socialists in France, where door-to-door canvassing is unknown, FRANCE 24 reports. For the first time in a presidential campaign, the Socialist party has organized a large effort to draw in left-wing sympathisers who might have otherwise abstained.

Activists get lists of households -- but not individual names -- in left-voting neighborhoods that have abstained from voting in the past, FRANCE 24 reports. Each campaign worker has been given sales-type training and follows strict guidelines on how long to spend with each voter, how to listen rather than lectur, and to provide as much information as they can.

“People who don’t agree with us get two minutes and those who do get five,” said Laurent Thomas, a council gardener who organizes all canvassing in Nimes.


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