OUR IDEAS FOR FUTURE IMPACT EVALUATIONS
In this memo we summarize our ideas for future ideas to run RCTs that measure vote tripling’s impact.
Academic studies find numerous factors influence voting behaviors. In this report we (i) synthesize the most highly-cited, publicly-available academic studies on social influence and voter turnout and (ii) include an appendix of the most-cited studies on voting. To make this report digestible for political campaign professionals, we label each study by its outreach method, psychological mechanism, and outcome affected.
This report summarizes academic research on pledges and reminders for political campaign professionals. Today, campaigns regularly utilize pledges and reminders to boost voter turnout. However, subtle variations in the ways these techniques are deployed can lead to outsized differences in their efficacy. We hope this report empowers campaigns to design and implement more effective GOTV tactics.
quotes from experts on friend-to-friend gotv techniques
“Social pressure messages are roughly an order of magnitude more influential than conventional [...] appeals” — Prof. Donald Green, Columbia University
“Voters are more likely to take an action if they’ve been compelled to do so by their friends” — Teddy Goff, lead digital strategist for Clinton and Obama campaigns
“The more personal the mode of contact, the more effective it is [at increasing turnout]” — Prof. Alan Gerber, Yale University
“Social influence may be the best way to increase voter turnout” — Prof. James Fowler, UC-San Diego
Neighbor-to-neighbor encouragements to vote delivered via canvassing boost turnout by 9.0 percentage points (Middleton & Green, 2008)
Friend-to-friend encouragements to vote delivered via Facebook boost turnout by 8.2 percentage points (Teresi & Michelson, 2015)
When volunteers discuss voting with one member of a household, the probability of other members of that household’s voting increases by 5.8 percentage points because “interpersonal influence shapes the behaviors of people living within the same household” (Nickerson, 2008)
Chart Data Sources
Effect size of mail, phone calls, and canvassing:
Green, Donald P., Mary C. McGrath, and Peter M. Aronow. "Field experiments and the study of voter turnout." Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties 23.1 (2013): 27-48.
Effect size of GOTV messages delivered by friends:
Teresi, Holly, and Melissa R. Michelson. "Wired to mobilize: The effect of social networking messages on voter turnout." The Social Science Journal 52.2 (2015): 195-204.
Middleton, Joel A., and Donald P. Green. "Do Community-Based Voter Mobilization Campaigns Work Even in Battleground States? Evaluating the Effectiveness of MoveOn’s 2004 Outreach Campaign." Quarterly Journal of Political Science 3 (2008): 63-82.