The lost art of door-knocking

by Aaron Wherry

Andrew Steele notes new findings in electoral science.

Professors at Yale University studied the impact of three forms of voter communications by campaigns on improved turnout. They used a 30,000 person sample in 1998 for elections in New Haven, Connecticut. The findings are stark: Telephone canvassing has no significant impact on improving voter turnout. Direct mail has only a small impact on improving turnout. The method of communication that most improves turnout — and is the method that can best win your election — is face-to-face canvassing by volunteers.

The team at Yale hypothesizes that the drop in turnout since the 1960s in American politics is due to the decline in political activism and thus a decline in volunteers to knock on doors.




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The lost art of door-knocking

  1. The idea that calling from an unidentified phone number and expecting people to listen to your message at random times through the day or night is largly a turn-off. Mail leaflets are wasted paper.
    At least a person at the door has to have made an effort to go to your home to talk to you.

  2. “Andrew Steele notes new findings in electoral science”

    Check the date Wherry. The article is eleven years old. Just because Steele read it yesterday doesn’t make the findings new.

  3. I don’t see a cause and effect here.

    I see two phenomena that have a common cause.

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