Thursday, April 3, 2008

The importance of personal contact

Yesterday, in Electoral Study class, I learned that the most important way of campaigning was by personal contact: door-to-door canvassing, hand-shaking, etc.. Today, coincidentally, I saw an article on Freakonomics talking about the insignificance of e-mailing regarding its get-out-the-vote effect.
If an e-mail message from a campaign or non-profit group were to pop up in your inbox on election day asking you to please go down to your polling place and cast your vote, would you do it?

Probably not, if the results of a study by Notre Dame political scientist David Nickerson are any indication. Nickerson conducted 13 field experiments during elections between 2002 and 2004, and found that aggressive e-mail get-out-the-vote campaigns have virtually no effect on voter turnout.
I find David's results quite consistent with both of my election observation experiences (legislative elections and presidential elections).

1 comment:

Chih-Hsiang Liao said...

My UG classmate attempted to run for the parliment seat four years ago. His strategy seemed to emphasize on his election campaign through the use of internet. Yet, the votes he gained were almost nothing.