“Activating Voters of Color: Power, Place and Participation”
This analysis is based on a review of the literature on mobilization among voters of color that is available from academic journals, research reports, and the Analyst Institute website. That search yielded 278 experiments conducted over the past two decades and 20 additional studies looking at how institutional and other factors had a causal impact on voter turnout among voters of color.
“Voters of color” are not monolithic. Each racial group is a collective of persons differentiated from others by cultural forms, practices, special needs or capacities, and the structure of power or privilege. Consequently, one strategy will not mobilize these very different types of voters. That is why studies need to consider heterogeneous treatment effects – the possibility that the same treatment will have a different effect within and across groups. It is with this in mind that this analysis should be interpreted.
The analysis provides insights into the treatment effects of door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, text messaging, mail and pledge cards, radio ads, and digital ads. It also raises a number of questions that remain unanswered and require further study. Nonetheless, there is considerable information in this review to help guide the outreach and mobilization efforts among voters of color.
Among mobilization strategies for voters of color, door-to-door canvassing proves to be the most effective.
In one study, voters of color who received door-to-door canvassing or live phone banks were “23% more likely to vote in November.”