Date: Jun 4 | Time: 03:15pm to 04:45pm | Location: SWING 310
Chair/Président/Présidente : Jason Roy (Wilfried Laurier University)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Donald P. Green (Columbia University)
Getting Out The Children’s Vote: A Field Experiment on the Effect of a Non Partisan Campaign on Children’s and Parents’ Electoral Participation: Valérie-Anne Mahéo (McGill University) Abstract: Elections are an important moment in democratic life, providing not only an opportunity for citizens to participate in politics through voting, but also a salient context for citizens –both children and adults– to learn about politics. In the context of low and declining turnout rates in several Western democracies, information campaigns and Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns provide means to both engage citizens in politics and mobilize them to vote. For the 2018 provincial election of Quebec, an innovative education program was put in place: all children could experience the act of voting at the polling station, by casting a ballot on an opinion question, in small ballot boxes specifically set up for them. In this context of public policy innovation, a Get-Out-The-Children’s-Vote campaign (GOTCV) was organized to inform children aged 6 to 12 years old about the possibility for them to vote, and to encourage them to vote at the polling station with their parents. Using a randomized field experiment in 200 elementary schools, I assess the causal effect of the GOTCV invitation card on students’ electoral participation, but also on their parents’ participation. The self-reported measures from students’ and parents’ surveys are complemented with official turnout measures.
Campaign Spillover Effects within Households: The Role of Gender: Eline de Rooij (Simon Fraser University), Florian Foos (King's College London), Vanessa Cheng Matsuno (King's College London) Abstract: Observational studies show that women are more likely to list family members as political discussion partners. In this paper, we ask whether this potentially greater role of the family for women compared to men in their acquisition of political information and political decision-making, translates into a greater likelihood of being mobilized to vote through intimate social networks such as the household. We combine data from several previously conducted voter mobilization experiments in the US and the UK to assess the extent to which within-household spillover of mobilization messages varies according to the gender of the experimental subject and of their household member. We discuss the results in light of theories on the role of political discussion with close others in explaining political participation.
The Squamish Experiment: Looking for campaign effects on persuasion and mobilization in a Canadian election: Doug Munroe (Quest University Canada), Kaija Belfry Munroe (Quest University Canada) Abstract: Decades of field experiments in the United States have produced a robust body of knowledge about the effects of campaign tactics on voter turnout. To our knowledge, there have been few, if any, such experiments in Canada. Moreover, US experiments have been focused on mobilization effects (measured by voter turnout) rather than persuasion effects (measured by relative vote share among candidates). We suspect that one reason for this is that, in most of the US, whether or not an individual voted is a matter of public record. We similarly suspect that there have been fewer field experiments in Canada because this is not true here, and that the overall focus on mobilization rather than persuasion in US studies is a consequence of the availability of individual-level turnout data versus the non-availability of individual-level voter choice data (because of secret ballots). Acting on these suspicions, we designed an experiment to determine whether or not door-to-door canvassing in a Canadian election increased either voter turnout or vote share for different candidates. This paper presents our findings, and discusses the challenges of setting up an experiment that relies on cooperation among competing third parties.
NOTE: Depending on where the workshop organizers want to place the focus of discussion, this paper could emphasize either a traditional presentation of the experiment and our results, or a practical discussion of how we went about setting this up, and the lessons we’ve learned from doing so.