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The Effects of Canvassing, Telephone Calls, and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment
"We report the results of a randomized field experiment involving approximately 30,000 registered voters in New Haven, Connecticut. Nonpartisan get-out-the-vote messages were conveyed through personal canvassing, direct mail, and telephone calls shortly before the November 1998 election. A variety of substantive messages were used. Voter turnout was increased substantially by personal canvassing, slightly by direct mail, and not at all by telephone calls. These findings support our hypothesis that the long-term retrenchment in voter turnout is partly attributable to the decline in face-to-face political mobilization." (Link to paper)
TL;DR: Knocking on doors is the only thing that will help us win. There is no substitute for direct, face-to-face contact.
I know we all know this already, but it's worth repeating as much as possible. Everything the campaign is doing is in the service of the aim of door-to-door canvassing.
- By putting out good quality policies, Bernie makes it easier for us to convince our neighbors to get out and vote for him on election day.
- By giving a great debate performance, it makes out job a little bit easier when we knock on someone's door, because people already have a favorable view of him and we don't have to start from scratch.
- By raising money, the campaign can hire people to coordinate volunteers who will knock on doors in every zip code.
- By phone banking and texting, you can keep the base feeling the Bern and ensure we are energized when we are called to knock on some doors.
Don't get it twisted, this election will only be won with a human touch. We will not beat Warren by attacking her or trying to differentiate ourselves, the only way we can beat her is to ensure that every Bernie-sympathetic voter actually goes out of their way to get to the polls or caucuses. Most candidates win by trying to make their opponents seem less likeable, thereby suppressing their voter turnout. Bernie is doing his part, by eating Centrists for breakfast every day. Now we have to be prepared to do our part.
Start mentally preparing to knock on doors in your area as we get closer to the polls. Start thinking about whether you can travel to Iowa or NH when the time comes. If you went hard in 2016, go harder now. Get ready for deployment.