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Is it worth door-knocking? Evidence from a United Kingdom-based Get Out The Vote (GOTV) field experiment on the effect of party leaflets and canvass visits on voter turnout

  • Joshua Townsley (a1)
Abstract

What impact do party leaflets and canvass visits have on voter turnout? Get Out The Vote (GOTV) experiments consistently find that campaigning needs to be personal in order to be effective. However, the imbalance between United States and European-based studies has led to recent calls for further European GOTV experiments. There are also comparatively few partisan experiments. I report the findings of a United Kingdom-based field experiment conducted with the Liberal Democrats in 2017. Results show that party leaflets boost turnout by 4.3 percentage points, while canvassing has a small additional effect (0.6 percentage points). The study also represents the first individual level experiment to compare GOTV effects between postal voters and in-person voters outside the United States.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: j.townsley@kent.ac.uk
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Political Science Research and Methods
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