The Trump campaign is dispatching volunteers nationwide and is knocking on more than 1 million doors a week as it tries to court voters for November, while Joe Biden's campaign has suspended the practice because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Politico reported Tuesday that the Biden campaign doesn't want to take chances as COVID-19 continues to ravage the country. It is reaching out to voters via phone calls, text messages, virtual meet-ups, and more.
"At first I was nervous, but our response rates on phone calls and texts are much higher and people are not necessarily wanting someone to go up to their door right now," the Biden campaign's national states director Jenn Ridder told Politico. "You get to throw a lot of the rule book out the window and try out new things."
In June, meanwhile, the Trump campaign began canvassing neighborhoods to garner support. The volunteers and field staffers wear masks.
"From now to Election Day, voters may only see one campaign at their doors," Republican National Committee national field director Elliott Echols said. "If this were Barack Obama running, Democrats would want to be out there knocking doors. They don't have enthusiasm or a strong field operation, so it is a convenient excuse. We can do this safely for President Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot."
The Biden campaign's effort comes as national polls show the former vice president with a lead of more than 7 points. Some are skeptical of forgoing canvassing for digital efforts, but others see it as a sign of the times.
"Politics is the last remaining marketing entity — which essentially is what a campaign is — that utilizes door-knocking as a technique," Michael Halle, a former senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign, told Politico. "The Trump approach of measuring door knocks is very antiquated and I think the Biden campaign may be following that model if they hadn't been forced to think differently because they're acting responsibly in a pandemic."
Meanwhile, the Biden campaign is planning to target voters in four states Trump won in 2016 — Texas, Ohio, Iowa, and Georgia — through television and digital advertising between now and Election Day.
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