Personal Contact Helps Mobilize Low-participation Populations to Vote

Personal Contact Helps Mobilize Low-Participation Populations to Vote

Mobilizing voters who don’t typically turn out to vote is difficult. It is well documented that voting is habit forming, and those who have not developed the inclination are unlikely to cast a ballot. But election administrators and political campaigns have new research to guide their efforts to activate these voters.

Field experiments demonstrate that low-participation groups can be mobilized by personal contact on the phone or in face-to-face conversations, especially if the interaction is repeated before the election.  Such efforts also have spillover effects, increasing the participation of other eligible voters in the same household by up to 60 percent.

One of the challenges to mobilization is that most voter registration activity takes place right before the deadline, meaning most new registrants are added to official lists just prior to Election Day. This timing makes it extremely difficult for campaigns and engagement groups to identify and contact new or unlikely voters in advance of the election. As states increasingly join in projects such as the Electronic Registration Information Center that register new voters and update the registrations of those who have moved throughout the year, election administrators, nonprofits, and campaigns will have more time for multiple personal contacts with low-participation populations.

Follow us on Twitter using #electiondata and get the latest data dispatches, research, and news by subscribing today.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.