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Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany
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Irrelevant at Best: Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany

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Celebrity Endorsements are a standard feature of modern election campaigns. Mostly used to boost turnout, we test to what extent such endorsed campaigns are effective. Our experimental findings …

Celebrity Endorsements are a standard feature of modern election campaigns. Mostly used to boost turnout, we test to what extent such endorsed campaigns are effective. Our experimental findings indicate that they are irrelevant at best.

Recent European Elections were plagued by a notoriously low turnout, throughout Europe, but especially in Germany. In 2004, only 43 per cent of eligible voters actually turned out to vote there – the lowest turnout ever reported in a nationwide German election. A strategy to boost turnout in the 2009 European election (employed – among others – by the European Parliament) was the endorsement of turnout by celebrities. Some scattered findings from the U.S. suggest that such endorsed GOTV-campaigns have the potential to mobilize voters, but the designs usually employed is far from optimal and hence, the issue of the effectiveness of such campaigns (and their underlying mechanisms) is far from settled. Making use of design combining an experimental element with a three-wave panel design (based on an online access panel), we put the effectiveness of endorsed GOTV-campaign to a rigorous test (employing a total of eight experimental conditions) – and we find, that they are irrelevant at best. In one case (based on a “polarizing” celebrity), we even find some detrimental effects on turnout. Hence, GOTV-campaigns endorsed by celebrities are by no means a perfect solution to boost turnout.

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  • 1. Irrelevant at Best Celebrity Endorsements and Voter Mobilization in the Run-Up to the 2009 European Election in Germany Landau, October 8th, 2009 Thorsten Faas, Harald Schoen Email: Thorsten.Faas@uni-mannheim.de Symposium ÊCampaigning for Europe. Parties, Campaigns, Mass Media and the European Parliamentary Elections 2009”
  • 2. Some recent examples … 1
  • 3. Some recent examples … 2
  • 4. Even more common: Turnout 3
  • 5. Even more common: Turnout 4 Does it work?
  • 6. ÊAnswers“ Given in the Literature 5 • Some work done in the US – Mixed results – Underlying Mechanisms far from resolved – ÊBrute Force“-Designs • Hardly any (if any) work done in Germany Our Starting Point: Cover Germany, but also extend existing literature by improving research designs
  • 7. Data
  • 8. Online Survey Experiment 7 • Online survey experiment conducted (in cooperation with YouGovPsychonomics, based on their online panel) • Survey was fielded from June 3-6, n=1.351, including eight experimental conditions • Dependent Variable (Baseline Version): – ÊThe European Election will take place on June 7th. How likely is it that you will turnout to vote?“ – Possible answers ranging from 0 (Êwill definitely not vote“) to 10 (Êwill definitely vote“)
  • 9. Experimental Condition 1 (Control Group): 8 ÊThe European Election will take place on June 7th. How likely is it that you will turnout to vote?“
  • 10. Experimental Condition 2/3: 9 ÊThe European Election will take place on June 7th. Celebrities – like Oliver Kahn [Johanna Klum]– have called on people to cast their vote. How likely is it that you will turnout to vote?“
  • 11. Experimental Condition 4/5: 10 ÊThe European Election will take place on June 7th. How likely is it that you will turnout to vote?“ ÊBRUTE FORCE“-APPROACH
  • 12. Unobtrusive Experimental Condition 6/7/8: 11
  • 13. Results
  • 14. Results: Likelihood of Voting by Exp. Condition 13 8,0 Sig. Difference p<0,05 7,5 7,0 6,5 6,0 al al en um al n l al en ro de rb su su rb dd dd nt id ve ve vi vi Co hi hi lh hn um hn hn um ra Ka Ka Kl Kl Ka ut Kl Ne
  • 15. Data II
  • 16. Online Survey Experiment 15 • Panel Survey • In a first wave, we have a baseline measurement of the likelihood of turnout, in addition we have ratings for the celebrities in terms of ... – ... Fame (in the sense of being known) – ... Popularity (in the sense of being liked) • We also have a third wave after the election to test for the stability of possible effects. • The experimental conditions were part of the second wave
  • 17. Results: Difference in the Likelihood of Voting 16 Condition 4 is the only one to yield a 0,5 significant difference from zero 0,3 0,0 Neutral hidden Kahn hidden Klum hidden Klum verbal Klum visual Control Kahn verbal -0,3 Kahn visual -0,5
  • 18. 60,0 65,0 70,0 75,0 80,0 Co nt Ka ro hn l ve Kl rb um al ve rb Ka al hn vi su Kl um al vi Ka su hn al hi dd Kl en um Ne hi dd ut en ra lh id de n Stability of Effects (Reported Turnout from Wave 3) 17
  • 19. Further Research 18 • Subgroup Analysis – … by age – … by popularity of celebs – ... by prior level of certainty – … by response latencies • Additional experiments in the run-up to the federal election (with celebrities endorsing parties) • Thanks a lot for your attention!

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