Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2307631
 
 

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Unresponsive and Unpersuaded: The Unintended Consequences of Voter Persuasion Efforts


Michael Bailey


Georgetown University - Department of Government

Daniel J. Hopkins


Georgetown University

Todd Rogers


Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

May 26, 2014


Abstract:     
Can randomized experiments at the individual level help assess the persuasive effects of campaign tactics? To answer that question, we analyze a field experiment conducted during the 2008 presidential election in which 56,000 registered voters in Wisconsin were assigned to persuasive canvassing, phone calls, and/or mail. We find that persuasive appeals by canvassers had two unintended consequences. First, they reduced responsiveness to a follow-up survey among infrequent voters, a substantively interesting behavioral response that has implications for the statistical analysis of persuasion experiments. Second, the persuasive appeals possibly reduced candidate support and certainly did not increase it. This counter-intuitive finding is reinforced by multiple statistical methods and suggests that contact by a political campaign can engender a backlash.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

Keywords: Persuasion, campaign effects, U.S. presidential elections, missing data, field experiments

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Date posted: August 10, 2013 ; Last revised: May 28, 2014

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Michael and Hopkins, Daniel J. and Rogers, Todd, Unresponsive and Unpersuaded: The Unintended Consequences of Voter Persuasion Efforts (May 26, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2307631 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2307631

Contact Information

Michael Bailey
Georgetown University - Department of Government ( email )
ICC, Suite 681
Washington, DC 20057-1034
United States
202-687-6021 (Phone)
202-687-5858 (Fax)
Daniel J. Hopkins (Contact Author)
Georgetown University ( email )
ICC, Suite 681
Washington, DC 20057-1034
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.danhopkins.org
Todd Rogers
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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