Tag Archives: voting and elections

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Public Accountability and Political Participation: Effects of Face-to-Face Feedback Intervention on Voter Turnout of Public Housing Residents

You don’t have to use heavyhanded, intimidating factors to make social pressure work. You can raise turnout dramatically just by subtly reminding people that they’re being watched. Here’s a few things we know about voter turnout: The urban poor don’t vote. Voter turnout experiments don’t typically focus on non-voting populations like the urban poor. Turnout […]

Introduction to Social Pressure and Voting: New Experimental Evidence

Voting is like pornography. Non-voting, like pornography, is frowned upon, so folks try to keep it private. But once you threaten to publicize that private behavior, it changes. Two years ago, Gerber, Green, and Larimer (2008) shook up research on turnout with a stunning experimental result: You can raise turnout dramatically with a postcard. Not […]