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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Texting Beats Email for GOTV — Big Time

Raven Brooks, chief operating officer of Vote.org, has a post up at Campaigns & Elections showing a strong edge for texting over email as a tool for getting out the vote. Here’s the lede and the link:

At the beginning of the 2016 cycle, we felt that text messages held promise based on some existing studies done by our peers in the civic engagement world. They were promising, but not done with large sample sizes because on the whole most campaigns organizations hadn’t invested much in mobile programs yet. We were eager to build on their work and run some larger studies as well as testing a new mode of contact.

In 2014 the Analyst Institute conducted a study of texting with around 150,000 participants. They found this increased turnout in that midterm year by 0.9 and 1.4 percent for “plan-making” texts (those that get the voter to go through the mental process of planning how they will get to the polls). The program operated at an incredibly low cost when looking at cost per vote, especially compared to other modes of contact.

At vote.org, we ran three experiments in 2016 using SMS for voter registration and two varieties of GOTV. But before we get into the findings, some explanation of terminology is in order.


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