12/20/2006 - Nearly two-thirds of registered voters (64%) received recorded telephone messages in the final stages of the 2006 mid-term election. These so-called "robo-calls" were the second most popular way for campaigns and political activists to reach voters, trailing only direct mail as a key tool of political communication. Some 71% of registered voters got direct mail campaign solicitations, while 24% received phone calls from real human beings urging their vote for a particular candidate, 18% were visited at their homes, and 14% received email solicitations.
People with clear partisan leanings, both Republicans and Democrats, were more likely to be solicited through any contact channel, compared with those who say they are independents. However, conservative Republicans were more likely to have received phone calls of any kind (live or recorded) than were liberal Democrats and moderates in both parties.
This election was the first time that the post-election survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has asked about telephone contacts with voters. Even though this was a mid-term election, there were increases in some of the other kinds of voter contacts compared with what happened in the 2004 presidential campaign.
Some 49% of American adults got direct mail contacts from candidates in 2004, compared with 61% this year. And 10% of American adults were visited in their homes by political activists in 2004, compared with 16% this year. In contrast, the number of Americans getting email political solicitations dropped slightly from 15% in 2004 to 12% in 2006.
Read full article There's a Robot on the Line for You on the Pew Research Center Web site.