WASHINGTON - In a day when social media is grabbing headlines and billions are going to pay for campaign literature, mailings, ads and consultants, good old person-to-person campaigning can be viewed as ineffective in obtaining votes.
But in Alan Gerber and Donald Green's 2004 book, which has been updated, they found the most effective means to get out the vote is still talking to people face-to-face. According to Gerber and Green, going door-to-door, talking to voters can grab one vote per 14 contacts - the best return on investment among all the others out there.
More recently, personal phone calls have become just as effective. Experiments of professional and volunteer phone calls (Nickerson 2006b; Arceneaux 2006; Arceneaux and Nickerson 2006) suggest that personalized messages delivered in a conversational manner over the phone may be as effective (and cost-effective) as canvassing.
Sure, it's the personal touch that pays off in winning elections, says Ned Ryun of Voter Gravity. That makes passionate, motivated campaign volunteers even more valuable than ever.