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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Persuading individuals to vote using instrumental arguments about affecting the outcome are generally ineffective, reflecting the irrationality of the likelihood that a single vote will do so. A review of existing randomized experiments suggests the much stronger strategy is to rely instead on messages that encourage individuals to vote as an expression of their identity in a particular group, such as their racial identity or partisan identity, harnessing the power of in-group identity and individual needs for self-esteem. This perspective helps resolve inconsistencies in the outcomes of existing experiments and remaining puzzles about how best to mobilize different subsets of the public. It also unearths an unplumbed well of potential future mobilization experiments.

Keywords: get-out-the-vote, GOTV, mobilization, experiments, social identity, self-esteem, expressive voting, noticeable reminder theory, social occasion theory

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