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Text Messaging Field Experiment (RootsCampDC 12/06)


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Text Messaging Field Experiment (RootsCampDC 12/06)

  1. 1. Text Messaging Field Experiment and Survey 2006 <ul><li>Principal Investigators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allison Dale, U-Mass Amherst Political Science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aaron Strauss, Princeton Political Science </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. Background, Motivation, and Goals of the Study
  3. 3. New Generation of Voters Require New Outreach Methods <ul><li>Conventional campaign programs rely on mail and phone </li></ul><ul><li>Mail campaigns for young people are problematic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Young people are more mobile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Urban and college addresses are less reliable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Landline phone campaigns are problematic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Bureau of Labor Statics reports that 20% of young people (15-24) only use a mobile phone. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. If Democrats and Progressives Need to Act Now <ul><li>Turnout of young people is unrealiable… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Young voters are underrepresented in the electorate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educated young voters are especially likely to drop off for midterm elections (Achen, 2006). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… but their votes are reliably Democratic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2004, 18-29-year olds were the only age group to support Kerry over Bush on average. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2006, 60% of young voters cast a ballot for a Democratic candidate for Congress. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. This Study Helps Determine Whether Text Messaging Helps Solve the Youth Turnout Problem <ul><li>Quantify the benefits of text messaging via a randomized experiment with a control group </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Also test appeal type and level of information provided </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Detect any sort of backlash by surveying a subset of those in the treatment group </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unique methodology to ensure a representative sample </li></ul></ul>Two Goals
  6. 6. Experimental Design
  7. 7. Randomized Experiments and a Post-Treatment Survey Achieve the Goals <ul><li>Randomized experiments of newly-registered voters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Main experiment (universe of 12,000) tests whether receiving a text message reminder induces young people to vote </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A pilot study (universe of 1,400) tests whether receiving exact polling location and address helps people vote. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A random subset (n=300) of individuals who received a text message in the experiment were surveyed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Respondents asked whether they found the texts helpful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and what form of communication they prefer </li></ul></ul>Two Components
  8. 8. Cell Phone Numbers Were Collected Voluntarily and Verified Independently <ul><li>Three sources of cell phone numbers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Progressive student organization (e.g., campus tabling). Collected 8,611 valid mobile numbers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Progressive online organization (online registration). Collected 5,343 valid mobile numbers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile-centric organization (text and online registration). Collected 353 valid mobile numbers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>With the help of Survey Sampling, Inc. we used prefix and 1000-block classifications to eliminate landlines from the universe. </li></ul>
  9. 9. In the Upcoming Months We Will Check the Voter Rolls to Determine Whether Individuals Voted <ul><li>20 states comprise 90% of our universe </li></ul><ul><li>Sources of aggregated voter files at our disposal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Polimetrix, with the help of Young Voter Strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalist </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other Potential Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The DNC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secretaries of States </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The Completed Survey Has a Unique Methodology Problem The Disposition of Everyone who Picked up the Phone, Even for a Second, Was Recorded Very Pleasant Smwt Pleasant Indifferent/ Annoyed Those who did not take the survey Very Pleasant Smwt Pleasant Indifferent/ Annoyed Those who did take the survey
  11. 11. Preliminary Survey Results Initial Weighting by Gender, Weekend (Recall Rate), and Disposition
  12. 12. Participants are Young, Democratic, and Reasonably Diverse
  13. 13. While Positive Reactions Far Outnumbered Negative Feelings, A Distinct Minority Were Bothered Open-ended: What was your reaction to receiving the text message? (Classified Response) Positive Neutral Surprised Negative Did you find the text message helpful or were you bothered by it? 25% Strong 13% Strong
  14. 14. However, This Small Backlash Did Not Deter People From Voting 7% Much More Did receiving the text message make you (much) more/less likely to vote?
  15. 15. Young People Prefered to Be Contacted By Text Message and Email Imagine that a political organization wanted to remind you to vote just before Election Day. How would you prefer that they contact you?
  16. 16. Where We Go From Here
  17. 17. There Are Several Steps Remaining <ul><li>Complete Weighting and Survey Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Fully-Fund Survey </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Funders/partners get full access to the data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collect Data from Voter Rolls </li></ul><ul><li>Design Experiments for 2008! </li></ul>