Presidential Candidates Robocall Voters Again, and Again, and Again

By ABC News

Jan 11, 2012 3:28pm

ABC News’ Sarah Burke reports:

With the South Carolina primary just around the corner, voters are getting ready for a heated fight for their support. And if the experience in New Hampshire is anything to go by, South Carolina voters should brace themselves for a deluge of robocalls.

Take a look at Jeff Smeltzer’s answering machine.

Posted to YouTube on the day of New Hampshire’s Jan. 10th primary, Smeltzer’s home video shows him playing through 13 unheard robocall messages, all received in a 24 hour period.

“It is unusual,” says Smeltzer, who lives in Rockingham County, N.H., “we got a higher than normal amount of calls this year, mostly thanks to Ron Paul.”

The robocall messages came from Paul and his endorsers, including Barbara Hagan, former chair of the N.H. National Right to Life Committee, and N.H. State Senator Jim Forsythe.  A Newmarket, N.H., town councilor also leaves a message warning voters of the dangers of Rick Santorum’s foreign policy.

Rockingham County is in southern New Hampshire, an area of stiff competition for candidates during the primary season as it is more densely populated.

Smeltzer is a self-described registered Independent, which he suspects is why he received so many robocalls this year. “I don’t find those generic messages effective,” he said. “But I do find the messages announcing where and when a meeting will be quite useful.”

Even though the Ron Paul campaign inundated his home with calls this year, Smeltzer does not recall the candidate making any visits to his town, despite appearances by both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. No campaign volunteers knocked on his door this year.

“I’d almost rather have a person come to the door and introduce themselves and explain why they are voting for the person. Nobody came to our door this primary season.”

Exit polls from Tuesday’s primary asked the question “How were you contacted by the candidate you supported today?” Forty-six percent of Ron Paul voters said they were mostly contacted by phone, mail or in person; 9 percent mostly through email, online or text message; 41 percent said they were not contacted at all.

With bouncy bluegrass background music, Smeltzer’s video is a tongue-in-cheek impression of candidate outreach on primary day in New Hampshire.  His video ends with the words “Thanks for calling Ron.”

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