Does Misinformation Demobilize the Electorate? Measuring the Impact of Alleged 'Robocalls' in the 2011 Canadian Election
AbstractThe paper presents evidence on the effect of voter demobilization in the context of the Canadian 2011 federal election. Voters in 27 ridings (as of February 26, 2012) allegedly received automated phone calls (`robocalls') that either contained misleading information about the location of their polling station, or were harassing in nature, claiming to originate from a particular candidate in the contest for local Member of Parliament. We use within-riding variation in turnout and vote--share for each party to study how turnout changed from the 2008 to the 2011 election as a function of the predominant party affiliation of voters at a particular polling station. We show that those polling stations with predominantly non-conservative voters experienced a decline in voter turnout from 2008 to 2011, and that this effect was larger in ridings that were allegedly targeted by the fraudulent phone calls. The results thus indicate a statistically significant effect of the alleged demobilization efforts: in those ridings where allegations of robocalls emerged, turnout was an estimated 3 percentage points lower on average. This reduction in turnout translates into roughly 2,500 eligible (registered) voters that did not go to the polls. The 95%-confidence interval gives a lower bound estimate of 1,000 fewer votes cast in robocall ridings, which is still a sizable effect.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8945.
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.