Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date


Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


The common wisdom in political campaigns is that the most effective way to get people to vote is by sending people out into neighborhoods and going to people’s doors, personally encouraging them to vote. This method, canvassing, is undoubtedly effective in getting people to feel like their vote matters, and then getting them to actually vote. It is also incredibly expensive. While other methods may be less effective by percentage, they maybe more cost-effective and allow campaigns to reach a broader base. Further, the ineffectiveness of these campaign strategies may be mitigated by multiple means of voter outreach, such as a phone call and a letter, an email and a face-to-face interaction, or any combination of these. By tracking these methods and finding the most effective way of getting potential voters to become actual voters, campaign managers could make the most out of ever-scarce campaign funds. Many different approaches have been studied in this field, ranging from different styles of outreach, positive versus negative ads, or partisan versus non-partisan outreach. Through research and data analysis of the American National Election Survey, different campaign methods and their effect on voter efficacy and voting statistics can be compared, with the end goal to find the most effective method in reference to its Cost per Vote. Much of the research done in this field compares simply within one method of outreach, and this paper spans the width of voter outreach styles to find the most effective means of voter outreach.


Presented at the Fall 2014 Undergraduate Student Research Day at Chapman University.