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Segways on the Campaign Trail

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the giddyap dept.

Toys 25

smooth wombat writes "The Segway is being used in a way probably not considered during its design: on the campaign trail. CNN's story talks about how a few candidates in different states are using the device to meet more people. According to one campaign consultant, who cited a Yale University study, knocking on voters' doors can account for a 7 percent to 12 percent increase in overall voter turnout. Using the Segway a candidate can reach three times the people compared to simply walking."

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So that's how Bobby McAllister will defeat Asthma! (1, Informative)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 years ago | (#10635775)

for those who haven't seen it, and to spoil the joke a bit- Bobby McAllister is the younger brother on the WB show Jack & Bobby. Set in present day, the show is a series of flashbacks, from 2041 when Rev. Robert McAllister, after being a preacher and a governor, gets elected President.

In the second episode, it's revealed that he suffers from asthma- definately a down side to a politician going door to door asking for votes. He must have used a Segway!

Re:So that's how Bobby McAllister will defeat Asth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10635827)


Re:So that's how Bobby McAllister will defeat Asth (1)

Stochio (801005) | about 10 years ago | (#10638314)

Apparently, mod parent insightful on parent of parent not being informative.

Re:So that's how Bobby McAllister will defeat Asth (1)

nocomment (239368) | about 10 years ago | (#10635932)

or maybe they used a conference bike [] .

Re:So that's how Bobby McAllister will defeat Asth (1)

Richard M. Nixon (697603) | about 10 years ago | (#10637620)

I don't think presidential canidates get elected by going door to door.

For one thing the Secret Service would probably give a few people a heart attack. To say nothing about the size of the entire country.

And that show is unrealistic. By the time 2041 comes around, we'll probably have an alien for president. And I for one look.... (duck and cover)

Old news (1)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | about 10 years ago | (#10635780)

Old news []

operating system to party matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10637669)

Windows = Republican. Has flaws, but most of us are happy with it.
Mac = Democrat. Commie system that costs too much.
Linux = Green. For dirty, smelly hippies.
FreeBSD = Libertarian. Seems to be dying.

Fat. (4, Funny)

jpsowin (325530) | about 10 years ago | (#10635812)

Using the Segway a candidate can reach three times the people compared to simply walking.

And they can get 3x fatter as well.

Re:Fat. (1)

RevDobbs (313888) | about 10 years ago | (#10645293)

spell it with a "ph" and get the hip hop community involved!

and how many compared to.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 years ago | (#10635833)

say, a kick bike?

or an electrical kick board thingy?

Re:and how many compared to.. (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 years ago | (#10635940)

They'd work just as well- bet on the third party candidates to use them instead (since few of their campaign budgets can take a $5000 hit). Last I saw, you can pick up Razor's equivalent of the Segway at Shucks for under $200.

what about other short-distance vehicles? (1)

evilmousse (798341) | about 10 years ago | (#10636082)

What the hell's wrong with a bicycle??
Plan your campaign routes downhill and voila!

I'd vote for the candidate that comes to
my house and busts out a nollie hardflip...


Re:what about other short-distance vehicles? (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 years ago | (#10636233)

Doesn't pass the "get to the door without being out of breath" test in all situations (which was the *big* thing in the article- that this over 50 year old candidate could hit twice to three times as many houses without being out of breath).

Since the candidate in question is a HUGE believer in door-to-door campaigning, being able to still do it despite advanced years is a big deal.

Re:what about other short-distance vehicles? (1)

evilmousse (798341) | about 10 years ago | (#10636259)


for anyone ELSE who couldn't tell, i was joking.

(how many campaign routes could really be simplified to 'downhill' or 'uphill' anyway? ^^)

Who read that as (1)

Lars T. (470328) | about 10 years ago | (#10636178)

Knocking over voters...

Better up your insurance (1)

BallyHigh (812016) | about 10 years ago | (#10642340)

..especially Ted Kennedy's constituents!

Bike? (1)

photon317 (208409) | about 10 years ago | (#10636243)

Wouldn't a bicycle do the same thing, only better? Plus it gives an image of someone who's in shape and frugal, as opposed to someone who can't pedal for themselves and likes to blow money on toys and look "hip".

Re:Bike? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 years ago | (#10636574)

No- due to the out of breath factor- but as I posted before, a $200 electric razor scooter would do just as well as the 45000 Segway- unless your candidate had no sense of balance at all (for instance, it wouldn't work for W- but then neither does a Segway since you have to turn it ON before the gyroscopes work).

Yeah, great way to relate to the common man... (3, Funny)

Stochio (801005) | about 10 years ago | (#10636528)

...because we know that a great way to relate to voters is to own a $5,000 walking scooter.

Three times more? (1)

ptaff (165113) | about 10 years ago | (#10636548)

Using the Segway a candidate can reach three times the people compared to simply walking.

For this to make sense, the transport time between visits must be incredibly high compared to the time speeched at-the-front-door. As an example, for a 4 minute speech, you'd need a 14 minute transport time reduced by a factor of seven to see 3 times more people in the same timelapse.

Are candidates aware that they don't have to visit their voters list alphabetically?

Feel ready to own one or many Tux Stickers [] ?

Speaking as a candidate... (3, Insightful)

Thunderstruck (210399) | about 10 years ago | (#10636703)

I've done a lot of door-to-door campaigning, and there are times when this would have been handy. It all comes down to neighborhood density. Low density areas tend to be affluent or agrarian. Rich people and farmers vote. The less dense your population, the more likely the people you speak to will be voting. By contrast, in high-density areas as around colleges, the chances that whoever answers the door will vote are lower - but you can reach more of them because the travel time is reduced. The speech is usually 1 minute.

The net result is, you can visit more probable voters' homes in less time - and get more votes on election day. Kudo's for "IT."

walking precincts - an elected official who did it (3, Interesting)

chongo (113839) | about 10 years ago | (#10636784)

I would like to comment on walking the campaign trail from the perspective of an elected official who did a lot of it:

When I ran for Sunnyvale City Council I talked every predict in the city of ~125k people; knocking on some +30k doors of regular voters introducing myself and asking people to consider voting for me in November.

It was a very valuable experience. I had plenty of experience listening to the voters and answering their questions. By the time it came to the televised debates I had a solid grasp of the concerns of the voting public. I won with ~50% of the vote in a 3-way race.

Doing that much walking was hard work! I walked 6 to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for nearly 8 months. Not only was to good exercise, it gave me some key insights into important neighborhood issues while I was in office.

Walking for another candidate is a fine thing to do. Even after I was selected I walked a number precincts for a number of candidates that I endorsed. Still, there is no substitute for a voter talking one-on-one with the actual candidate.

What all of that said: About 1/2 of the my time in a precinct was at the door:

  • waiting for somebody to answer
  • leaving a note if nobody was home
  • attempting to discover of they had a "No solicitors" sign (I would not knock if they did)
  • finding the door bell
  • attempting to determine if the door bell worked or if you had to knock
  • talking to the voter

The Segway will not help you with the door time.

Another ~1/6 of my time was spent going from the street to the door. This was the time that one had to remain alert for:

  • dogs and other attack animals
  • trip and fall hazards (hard to walk the city if you are on crutches)
  • finding the "main door" (sometimes the main door was not the front door but a side door)
  • avoiding plants / lawn (some people really get upset if you tread on their lawn, others expect you to walk over it to reach their door)
  • not surprising people (not good introduce yourself after you have just startled them)

Using the Segway to go from the curb to the door would be a bad idea ... even if you had room to navigate your way without running over plants, pets, etc. :-) The many stairs and steps would also be an issue with the Segway.

The other ~1/3 of my time was spent going to the next door. Some of that is finding the next address of a regular voter. Some of that is attempting to look up their name (I always attempted to address them personally if possible), etc.

The Segway would be able to help going to the next door.

I mostly walked in the suburbs. I am sure other types of areas have different time ratios. For my case: even if the Segway could cut my time to the next door to zero, it would have only saved me about 1/3 of my time.

Segways are fun, but I don't see how they can 3x your voter reach in the types of areas that I was walking in.

FIRST 2002 Opening Presentation (1)

JPyObjC Dude (772176) | about 10 years ago | (#10638411)

I remember seeing the chairman of FIRST robotics, doing the opening presentations on a segway. I was totally impressed. The guy was flying all over the stage and right next to the edge.

I know that any techno nerds that see a candidate flying around on one would definitely think of voting for them.

90% of the people they knock on (1)

tod_miller (792541) | about 10 years ago | (#10639579)

Will have never seen a segway...

Using the Segway a candidate can reach three times the people compared to simply walking.

So they will discuss the segway, and perhaps hint that if they vote for them, maybe everyone can have one!

Yes, sure, you can have a go, but be quick I have a lot of houses to go to...

Buy one ... for your opponent (1)

Moderatbastard (808662) | about 10 years ago | (#10651808)

Using the Segway a candidate can reach three times the people compared to simply walking
Buy one for your opponent seems to be the correct strategy.

For every two people he could meet before (of whom, statistically, one would have considered him a jerk) he can meet six who will know beyond doubt that he is.

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