Political Behavior

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 97–113 | Cite as

Mobilizing the Seldom Voter: Campaign Contact and Effects in High-Profile Elections

  • Janine Parry
  • Jay Barth
  • Martha Kropf
  • E. Terrence Jones
Original Paper


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.


Voter mobilization Voter turnout Voting behavior Campaign effects Campaign contact 



The authors wish to thank David Magleby and Quin Monson of the Center for Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University for providing us these data. We also wish to thank Gary King for his assistance with the Amelia imputation program, and John Szmer for his helpful advice. Any errors in interpretation are the responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janine Parry
    • 1
  • Jay Barth
    • 2
  • Martha Kropf
    • 3
  • E. Terrence Jones
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PoliticsHendrix CollegeConwayUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of North Carolina—CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  4. 4.Department of Political Science and Public Policy AdministrationUniversity of Missouri—St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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