Door-to-door for Hollande

So François Hollande looks set to become the next French president the first Socialist on the post since Mitterand waved goodbye in 1988.

I haven’t followed the campaign closely, but I’m intrigued to learn that the French center-left have been building a ground war of unusual proportions, invoking, as the Social Democrats did in Denmark, the ’08 Obama campaign as their inspiration.

Kim Willsher provides an outline of the effort in the Guardian

On the ground, the Socialists are attempting to rebuff the [Front National] vote by redoubling efforts to mobilise their own supporters. Inspired by President Barack Obama’s election campaign in the US, they launched an ambitious programme in January to get five million French voters to open their doors.

An army of 120 professional “trainers” are overseeing 6,000 canvassers and 80,000 volunteers. Before last Sunday’s vote they had succeeded in opening 3.8m doors in districts around 10,000 voting stations seen as a priority because of their high rate of abstention or support for the Socialists in 2007.

“In all the voting stations where we carried out door-to-door canvassing before the first round there has been an increase of between 3% and 5% participation. As we are doing this in what are essentially our own areas, we are getting people out to vote for us,” said Hamon. “It’s been very successful in boosting our results.”

In November, I’m heading to Paris to talk about my book Ground Wars at Sciences Po after Florence Faucher King‘s kind invitation. I’m looking forward to discussing American, French, and other experiences in a comparative perspective.

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