Mobilizing Pasadena Democrats: Measuring the Effects of Partisan Campaign ContactsWorking Paper No.: 66
Date Published: 2008-11-30
Betsy Sinclair, The University of Chicago
Asa Hopkins, California Institute of Technology
R. Michael Alvarez, California Institute of Technology
This paper examines the effect of an entire campaign using a randomized field experiment where the treatment consists of campaign decisions made by a campaign manager. In contrast to the majority of the field experiments found in the contemporary get-out-the-vote literature, this paper studies the actual behavior of a campaign within a particular election as opposed to studying particular mobilization tactics. Thus, the campaign itself chooses which method to contact each individual within the randomly assigned treatment group. Contacts are made via face-to-face canvassing, phone calls, emails, and doorhangers and consist of experienced volunteers making partisan appeals. We observe a large treatment effect of campaign contact despite a small number of face-to-face contacts, suggesting that the targeting strategy of the campaign manager is particularly effective.