Mobilizing the Seldom Voter: Campaign Contact and Effects in High-Profile Elections
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- Parry, J., Barth, J., Kropf, M. et al. Polit Behav (2008) 30: 97. doi:10.1007/s11109-007-9042-9
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Decades of research suggests that campaign contact together with an advantageous socioeconomic profile increases the likelihood of casting a ballot. Measurement and modeling handicaps permit a lingering uncertainty about campaign communication as a source of political mobilization however. Using data from a uniquely detailed telephone survey conducted in a pair of highly competitive 2002 U.S. Senate races, we further investigate who gets contacted, in what form, and with what effect. We conclude that even in high-profile, high-dollar races the most important determinant of voter turnout is vote history, but that holding this variable constant reveals a positive effect for campaign communication among “seldom” voters, registered but rarely active participants who—ironically—are less likely than regular or intermittent voters to receive such communication.