Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Voters are Not Persuadable

The results of a major study of different techniques for persuading America voters to change their minds:
The best estimate for the persuasive effects of campaign contact and advertising—such as mail, phone calls, and canvassing—on Americans’ candidate choices in general elections is zero. Our best guess for online and television advertising is also zero, but there is less evidence on these modes.
I can think of at least two ways to interpret this: either voters have gotten so sophisticated or cynical about campaigns that they tune out all the ads, or they are so set in their partisan identities that nothing in hell has a chance of changing their minds.


Shadow said...

Each feeds the other.

G. Verloren said...

I'd be curious to see how well (or poorly) this holds true for other western countries. In particular, I feel like the recent French election doesn't match up to this notion very well.

Unknown said...


It seems to me that surely both your interpretations play a role.

On the "set in their positions" interpretation, I would suggest part of the reason for this is that in many, perhaps almost all, cases, we've been debating the same issues for decades and decades, and many of us feel like we've pretty much heard the arguments and made up our minds. Arguments that claim to be new look to many of us like retreads or rationalizations of already-set positions.

Whether to have a more or less bellicose foreign policy is a debate as old as humanity. Steve Bannon's nationalism goes back at least to the Little England arguments of the 19th century. And even aside from this deep history, most of those alive today have spent most or all of their lives hearing the same arguments. We've been debating the Laffer curve for 40 yrs or more.

Realistically, I have trouble imagining that some new argument would make me say to myself, "Damn, those libertarians were right all along!" Or whatever.

Shadow said...

Bannon often speaks of Economic Nationalism -- America first. It's not new. "The Open Door Policy" implemented economic nationalism and economic expansionism as official American foreign policy.