Mobilizing African-American Voters Using Direct Mail and Commercial Phone Banks: A Field Experiment
Donald P. Green
Columbia University - Department of Political Science
January 13, 2009
Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 2, pp. 245-255, 2004
This essay summarizes the results of a large-scale randomized experiment conducted during the 2000 election campaign by the NAACP National Voter Fund, which sought to mobilize African-American voters. Focusing solely on the direct mail and phone banking components of the NAACP-NVF campaign, this study examines the voting behavior of 980,208 participants residing in single-voter households, 1.7 percent of whom were randomly assigned to a control group. The experiment permits us to estimate (1) the extent to which the National Voter Fund's phone calls and direct mail increased voter turnout and (2) the approximate cost per vote. Within this sample, the NVF's two pieces of GOTV mail, three live phone calls, and two recorded phone calls had modest effects, generating approximately 7,100 additional votes at $158 per vote. The upper bound of a 90 percent confidence interval puts these figures at 16,214 additional votes at $69 per vote.
Keywords: Field Experiment, Randomization, Elections, GOTV, Voter Turnout, Voter Mobilization
JEL Classification: C93
Date posted: January 14, 2009
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