ERIC Number: ED233402
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May-28
Reference Count: 0
Applications of Direct Mail in Voter Turnout Activities.
Schmidt, Molly Spengler; Schmidt, Mark J.
A study examined the strategies used in 11 "get-out-the-vote" (GOTV) 1982 direct mail campaign letters, which were mailed on behalf of Republican candidates in two gubernatorial, one congressional, and one U.S. Senate race. All letters were mailed from four states with different political climates: Illinois, Minnesota, California, and Virginia. Nine of the eleven letters analyzed employed between six and eight compliance-gaining strategies such as punishment or reward appeals, or altruism, argument, and circumvention strategies. These samples tended to use much the same language style, and were representative of most political direct mail pieces. The other two letters used only the strategies of direct request and explanation through the use of empirical evidence. The Illinois letter, which was very short, began by refuting the requests typically made by political direct mail. Readers were asked to mail a card expressing their commitment to vote. Even though actual effectiveness is unverifiable, initial commitment cards and absentee ballot responses provided a sound basis for evaluating overall effectiveness. Considering that the two most successful GOTV mailings used only two compliance strategies, it seemed reasonable to link effectiveness with the utilization of a limited number of compliance strategies. In comparing the GOTV letters containing eight compliance strategies with the letters containing two strategies, it was easy to determine that the two-strategy letters were easier to absorb and much more straightforward. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Community
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Direct Mail Campaigns; Persuasive Strategies; Political Campaigns; Voters
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Dallas, TX, May 26-30, 1983).