Author Archives: A.B.

Motivating Voter Turnout by Invoking the Self

We can dramatically boost turnout simply by reminding people to “be a voter” rather than “to vote.” I find voter mobilization experiments fascinating. That’s why I write about them a lot (e.g. here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here […]

Timing is Everything? Primacy and Recency Effects in Voter Mobilization Campaigns

High propensity voters are affected most by an early turnout appeal, four weeks out. Low propensity voters are affected most by a late appeal, three days out. In recent years, political scientists have run a variety of field experiments to show exactly which methods of voter mobilization are most effective. However, those experiments have focused […]

Formal and Perceived Leadership Power in U.S. State Legislatures

Perhaps formal leadership powers have one set of effects, whereas perceived leadership power has a different set of effects. Those who study Congress have engaged in long arguments about the importance (or lack thereof) of Congressional leaders in influencing outcomes. Among others, see Cox and McCubbins 1993 and 2005, Krehbiel 1993 and 1998, Binder 1996, […]

U.S. State Election Reform and Turnout in Presidential Elections

Permanent no-excuse absentee voting, nonpermanent no-excuse absentee voting, and Election Day registration all have positive correlations with turnout. If you move from one state to the next, you may find dramatic differences in election administration. Back in my home state of California, I registered as a permanent absentee voter. Prior to each election, I received […]

Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era

When states make it harder to get an abortion, the abortion rate falls. A few months ago, SPPQ published an article by Michael New asking a simple question: Do anti-abortion laws have any effect? It’s a good question. Although the number of abortions performed in the U.S. fell by 22.2% between 1990 and 2005, it’s […]

The Party Faithful: Partisan Images, Candidate Religion, and the Electoral Impact of Party Identification

Voters can use candidates’ religion to infer their partisanship, but only for certain religions. American voters tend to vote for their party’s candidate. That’s not news. The question is, why? Political science has usually relied on three answers. The psychological approach says that voters support their party because of a deep, emotional, psychological attachment to […]

An Experiment Testing the Relative Effectiveness of Encouraging Voter Participation by Inducing Feelings of Pride or Shame

The “shame” treatment raised turnout by +6.3 percentage points; the “pride” treatment raised turnout by +4.0 percentage points. We already know from Gerber et al. (2008) that social pressure can boost voter turnout. As part of Political Behavior‘s special issue on social pressure and turnout (read some background), Gerber et al. join forces again with […]

Is There Backlash to Social Pressure? A Large-scale Field Experiment on Voter Mobilization

Mike Lee sent Republican voters their neighbors’ turnout records, hoping that Republicans would use this information to mobilize one another to vote. Instead, he was accused of unethically violating voter privacy In 2008, Gerber et al. published a pioneering study of mobilization. Using heavy-handed tactics, they found that they could shame people into voting (read […]