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“Friends-and-Neighbors” Mobilization: A Field Experimental Replication and Extension

  • Costas Panagopoulos (a1) and Kendall Bailey (a2)

Key [1949. Southern Politics in State and Nation. New York: A.A. Knopf] observed voters tend to support local candidates at higher rates, a phenomenon he termed “friends-and-neighbors” voting. In a recent study, Panagopoulos et al. [2017. Political Behavior 39(4): 865–82] deployed a nonpartisan randomized field experiment to show that voters in the September 2014 primary election for state senate in Massachusetts were mobilized on the basis of shared geography. County ties and, to a lesser extent, hometown ties between voters and candidates have the capacity to drive voters to the polls. We partnered with a national party organization to conduct a similar, partisan experiment in the November 2014 general election for the Pennsylvania state senate. We find localism cues can stimulate voting in elections, including in neighboring communities that lie beyond the towns and counties in which the target candidate resided, at least among voters favorably disposed to a candidate and even when voters reside in the home county of the opponent.

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The study we describe in this article was conceptualized as an extension of Panagopoulos, Leighley and Hamel (2017). We are indebted to both Jan Leighley and Brian Hamel for their collaboration and support for this research program and for their contributions to both studies. Financial support for this research was provided by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. The data, code, and any additional materials required to replicate all analyses in this article are available at the Journal of Experimental Political Science Dataverse within the Harvard Dataverse Network, at:

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Journal of Experimental Political Science
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Panagopoulos and Bailey Dataset



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