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The Effects of Canvassing, Telephone Calls, and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment

Author

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  • Gerber, Alan S.
  • Green, Donald P.

Abstract

We report the results of a randomized field experiment involving approximately 30,000 registered voters in New Haven, Connecticut. Nonpartisan get-out-the-vote messages were conveyed through personal canvassing, direct mail, and telephone calls shortly before the November 1998 election. A variety of substantive messages were used. Voter turnout was increased substantially by personal canvassing, slightly by direct mail, and not at all by telephone calls. These findings support our hypothesis that the long-term retrenchment in voter turnout is partly attributable to the decline in face-to-face political mobilization.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerber, Alan S. & Green, Donald P., 2000. "The Effects of Canvassing, Telephone Calls, and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 94(3), pages 653-663, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:03:p:653-663_22
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