Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why We Vote

Texting on a keyboard phoneImage via WikipediaHappy Election Day!
Hopefully, your candidate won, although I wonder what it means to be president during these perilous times ;)

Chances are, your parents voted or will vote today. Perhaps that's simply a result of one's education, income or other "intrinsic" factors. Or is it possible that external forces played a bigger role?

This election season has been saturated with TV ads, direct mail campaigns, political emails and "robo-calls". And let's not forget the rather old-fashioned door-to-door canvasses. Which method would you guess is most successful in motivating people to go to the polls? After listening to this short radio piece (less than 8 minutes total), critically analyze the findings and ask yourself a hard question: should we even strive for higher voter turnout?

The transcript of this show (NPR's On The Media) is available HERE. Just a preview: Yale professor Donald Green, who conducted over 100 studies on the most effective methods of getting out the vote would seem to decisively vindicate certain methods over others.
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Julia said...

I think that the best method to campaign political ads or mail would be through your cell phone. We were talking about this in class today about getting these types of ads through a text message on your phone. I thought that this was very interesting because I didnt know that they could send you a text campaigning the candidates. Todays technology is very advanced and with all the new cell phones coming out and all the new software, everyone is addicted to their phones. So i believe that the easiest way to get an ad for a candidate. When poeple are looking at their email and they see that they got some kind of "junk" mail from something that says "OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT", you will probably just hit the delete button. If you hear a text message on your phone, you are bound to click on it and maybe at least read a couple of words on the screen since the screen is so small. This is the most effective way to get people to remember to vote or to campaign for someone.

Matt H said...

When I receive "robo calls," the first thing I think is "Shut up and don't call my house again!" I believe that is how the majority of people will respond to those. Also, letters are useless. I have to take the mail in everyday for my family and when I see mail from McCain or any other political letter, I throw it out or use it for a fire starter. Those two ways I believe take more votes away from those candidates, rather than give them more. Also I have not received any text messages so I can't say anything about those, but I truly think that T.V. time, though expensive is the best advertisement. I enjoy that the best and because T.V. is hypnotizing, it makes us believe that the candidate is the person we should vote for, even if it is just for a second.

maddie hilbrant said...

I agree with Julia and Matt. I think that the most effective way to get to voters is via cell phone. I think most people in this day and age will read a text that they get, even if they dont know who sent it because texting is the most popular way of communication. Personally, I would find a text more convenient and i think its a much easier, less costly, and more effective way to reach voters.

Jillian F said...

I agree with everyone above, but I think that it all depends on the person who is receiving the type of ad. If it were me than I think that i would prefer to be greeted personally or by a text message. I know that any mail that comes to our house for candidates, we just throw it away with out looking at it. And same with E-mail, I just put that type of stuff into spam. With a text message, people can't delete it without opening it first, and once you open it you should just read it because it looks interesting. At my house if it is a phone call we just don't pick up because we have caller ID. I think that either a person coming to your door, or a text message would be the most motivating way for people.

The vote turnout this year was higher than many years in the past. I think that it was because Obama was directing part of his campaign to young people. I think that it is always good to strive for a higher vote turnout, because I think that everyone who can vote should vote, it is part of our rights and most people don't have that right, so we should take advantage of it and everyone should vote.

andrea said...

I completely agree with Jillin, we fought for the right to vote, and we have it, why not take advantage of that? After listening to the podcast, I thought it was remarkable how much money is spent on simply getting people to vote. I agree with Maddie Julia and Matt that texts are a very effective way to get the message out to people. Also, personally, when i see mail advertising this, i throw it out, and when i get emails, just by reading the subject i know that i toss things just by reading the subject. Text messages are a great way to get the message out to the YOUTH, and they are the voters of the elections to come. Therefore makin it a habit for them to vote will make voting in the future habitual.
The survey that they took where they sent out mail telling people who voted obviously made a big impact because everyone wants to say they did their civil duty.
"what’s going on there in terms of a social/psychological mechanism? And I think that part of it is people realize, oh if it’s a matter of public record, well, then I can't say I voted and not really vote. I actually have to go vote."
I find it somewhat sad that people don't realize the importance of being able to vote for our leader, and the fact that people have to be forced to vote is sadder.

Kimber said...

I found the information about the billions of dollars spent on campaign advertising fascinating. Donald Green’s studies revealed that the more personal the contact the more effective in persuading a voter. This correlates with what I have noticed during the fall elections. TV commercials, robo-calls, messages left on answering machines can be easily turned off or deleted. Personal contact allows a dialogue and important points that matter to an individual can be made. I was very surprised to learn that “text messages” were effective in getting the vote. I do know a number of people who signed up for Obama’s text messaging and received messages periodically from his campaign such as when he officially was declared the winner. It was also very interesting to learn that if people thought their participation voting was going to be publicized then they were more driven to vote.

Matt L. said...


Matt L. said...

do not believe that these external forces had that great of a factor on the election. For one thing most people tune the messages out because they are so sick of them.