What are the most cost-effective ways to increase voter turnout? Whether the ambition is to win elections, promote civic engagement, or bolster the legitimacy of democratic institutions, this question is of enormous significance to those who run and study campaigns. Since the original edition appeared in 2004 Get Out the Vote has become the indispensable guide to understand how to mobilize voters. Combining information from their own extensive field research and the rapidly expanding number of studies conducted by a growing network of scholars and campaign consultants, Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber bring scientific rigor to the subject, challenging much of the conventional wisdom about what works and what doesn't in political campaigns. Updated to include the newest research and published in time for the 2024 election cycle, Get Out the Vote will again be the indispensable guide to voter mobilization for campaign managers, consultants, and activists across the political spectrum. In addition, Green and Gerber provide students an accessible introduction to campaign research methodology.
Donald P. Green is J.W. Burgess Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.
Alan S. Gerber is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies.
Both authors are pioneers in the experimental study of voter turnout and have written widely on public opinion and elections.
1. Introduction: Why Voter Mobilization Matters
2. Evidence versus Received Wisdom
3. Door-to-Door Canvassing
4. Leaflets and Signage
5. Direct Mail
6. Commercial Phone Banks, Volunteer Phone Banks, and Robocalls
7. Electronic Mail, Social Media, and Text Messaging
8. Using Events to Draw Voters to the Polls
9. Using Mass Media to Mobilize Voters
10. Voter Registration and Voter Turnout
11. Strategies for Effective Messaging
12. What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s Next
A Meta-Analysis of Door-to-Door Canvassing Experiments
B Meta-Analysis of Direct Mail Experiments
C Meta-Analysis of Phone-Call Experiments
About the Authors
I have adopted this book as required reading for my upper division campaigns and elections classes since it was first published in 2004. In the absence of careful monitoring by campaign management of the kind spelled out in this book, vendors of voter outreach services have every incentive to lie, exaggerate, and over promise. Reading Green and Gerber, students learn about the importance of measurement, monitoring and testing of all campaign efforts. They are also taught a more general and very sobering lesson of adult life: you can go to work every morning, thinking your efforts matter, when they really don't. And that's why careful measurement and testing are so important.
Green and Gerber have studied turnout for years. Their findings, based on dozens of controlled experiments done as part of actual campaigns, are summarized in . . . Get Out the Vote, which is bound to become a bible for politicians and activists of all stripes.
Get Out the Vote shatters conventional wisdom about GOTV.
Green and Gerber have provided a valuable resource for grassroots campaigns across the spectrum.
Green and Gerber’s book represents important innovations in the study of turnout.
Get Out the Vote! is the rare book that manages to package cutting-edge social science on a keenly important topic in a completely approachable manner for all audiences. I’ve used this book for courses from beginning undergraduate lectures to graduate seminars. Some students are fascinated by the mechanics of campaigns and the range of different voter mobilization techniques examined. Some are struck by the inferential advantages of the field experiments that Green and Gerber champion. All appreciate the economical, non-technical presentation. And, the handful who have gone on to work on campaigns or run for office always tell me they consulted Get Out the Vote! during their races.