Last Updated: December 6, 12:08pm
Do you have Postcard Packages on the porch?
Do you have Letter Packages on the porch?
Data on Effectiveness
Generally speaking, the research is quite muddled, with studies supporting multiple points of view. Based on what I've seen, I feel comfortable that when we do a mix of various letter & postcard campaigns, we reach various kinds of voters in different enough kind of ways that even if one way turns out to be less effective, we've spread the risk (a portfolio approach). Some studies are listed below.
From Reclaim our Vote: "In 2021 in Petersburg, VA there were 6100 voters with no phone number so we post carded them and 43% of them voted. In 2020 in the Georgia primary, 3.3% of the 143,000 purged Black Georgia voters we post carded registered to vote. In 2019 in Onslow, NC, 26% of purged voters we contacted registered to vote.
From Sister District research summary 2020: "On average, industry studies estimate that turnout effects across tactics are in the range of 0.2-3.0%... Generally studies find a small, positive turnout boost from GOTV postcarding (~0.1-1.4%)... Vote Forward’s partially handwritten letters have shown small, positive boosts to turnout in the range of 0.4%-3.4%."
From Activate America & Movement Labs: "Results indicated that the postcards had a statistically significant impact on voter perception of Senator Masto. Specifically, in NV-4, multiple statistical analyses of the results provided a robust indication that the postcard had an impact (p=.02)... Results indicate that a single postcard to a voter may be most effective when it is building on an existing level of awareness..." so for lesser known officials may require multiple contacts.
From UMD professors: in Pennsylvania in 2016, postcards boosted voter registration by 1% (2% among 18- to 21-year-olds); see more.
From Postcards to Voters: "Based on turnout for the 2016 General Election, looking at so-called "hot" Democratic voters, VBM ones were 5% MORE likely to cast their ballots than non-VBM ones. Among "warm" Dems, the increase among VBM voters was 34%. Looking at just the turnout from "cold" voters, (those who had NOT voted in EITHER 2012 or 2014 General elections), VBM turnout was 174% higher than the non-VBM voters! And finally, among brand new voters with no past history, but they were registered Democrats, when they voted by mail, they were 47% more likely to do so than their non-VBM peers."
From Blue Wave Analytics, 2019: "Prior studies have found that postcards to voters have a small positive effect on voter turnout. The impact lies somewhere between purely commercial mailers and a phone call not as effective as a phone call but more effective than a commercial mailer. This small, positive effect, however, adds up when millions of postcards are written by volunteers which is what happened in the 2018 election cycle. Our study found that such postcards appear to be more effective overall with younger voters (under 45) than older voters (45+). In addition, Democratic voters residing in Red states were more positively impacted by the postcards than those in Blue states... Registered Democrats like these postcards. Only 12% indicate they would throw it away without reading. Over half would at least read/skim it before throwing it away. Close to a third would keep it and/or share it. 31% would pay more attention to the election; 22% more likely to vote; 30% more likely to vote for this candidate; 23% more likely to make sure others are registered to vote."
Current Campaigns on the Porch
campaigns/states change approximately every week
- CA (from Commit to Democracy): writing with a climate change message to young Democrats in CA-13 district to ensure they turn out to vote in 2024 and flip a US House Republican seat (won by just 0.4% in 2022!) (mail by 01/10).
- GA (from Field Team 6): writing to register voters who are likely Democrats in Georgia, the closest presidential swing state (Biden won only by 0.23% in 2020) (mail by 05/31).
- Done for now. Will be back when there are new letter campaigns to register voters and to get out the vote for 2024 elections.
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