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Does the Message Matter? A Field Experiment on Political Party Recruitment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2015

Jessica Robinson Preece
Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA; e-mail:
Olga Bogach Stoddard
Department of Economics, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA; e-mail:


Do men and women respond to various party recruitment messages similarly? Working with the Utah County Republican Party, we designed a field experiment in which we invited over 11,600 male and female party activists to attend a free, party-sponsored “Prospective Candidate Information Seminar” by randomizing different invitation messages. We found that women were half as likely as men to respond to recruitment—log on to the seminar website for more information, register for the seminar, and attend the seminar. While we found some suggestive evidence about what recruitment messages may particularly motivate women or men vis-à-vis a control message, our findings are inconclusive because of a low response rate. This first attempt to experimentally test gendered reactions to recruitment in a sample of active party supporters provides a valuable baseline for future research.

Research Article
Copyright © The Experimental Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2015 

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