Get-out-the-vote phone calls: Does quality matter?

Shang E. Ha, Dean S. Karlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This article reports the results of a field experiment testing the effectiveness of different quality get-out-the-vote (GOTV) nonpartisan phone calls. During the week preceding the November 2004 election, we randomly assigned registered voters in North Carolina and Missouri to one of three live phone calls with varying length and content. The scripts are (1) standard GOTV, (2) interactive GOTV, and (3) interactive GOTV with a request for mobilizing neighbors. We find that people assigned to the interactive GOTV treatment are more likely to turn out, whereas the effect of the "get your neighbors to vote" script is relatively as weak as that of the standard script. The findings suggest that interactive calls generally tend to increase voter turnout, but for a phone call to be effective, the message needs to be focused. The borderline statistical significance of the script that encourages neighbors' participation invites replication of this experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-369
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Field experiments
  • Get-out-the-vote (GOTV)
  • Phone banks
  • Political behavior
  • Turnout
  • Voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Get-out-the-vote phone calls: Does quality matter?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this