The effectiveness of voter robocalls and other technology.

The election is over and the robocalls have stopped. Well, at least the political robocalls have stopped. Those annoying, but effective, calls are just another example of how technology is influencing our lives, making businesses and other organizations more productive and having an effect on the unemployment rate.

During the week before the recent election I must have received at least a half-dozen robocalls per day asking me to vote for either a certain candidate or for or against a certain initiative. The calls sometimes contained the voices of the candidates themselves, but more often than not they were infested with the voice of another politician, usually an elected official, asking me to vote for a certain candidate so that “we can work together” to either stop some political movement or to move forward on certain issues. After a while, these calls got so annoying that it was tempting to vote against the candidate responsible for the calls. One state senator capitalized on this by sending out e-mail messages to supporters offering “another reason to vote for” the senator was that he did not do robocalls. A local political commentator tweeted his disdain for robocalls by saying that if he received another robocall he would call politicians at 4 a.m. every day for a week after the election.

Are political robocalls effective? It depends on whom you ask. Yale political science professors Donald Green and Alan Gerber have been studying voter mobilization efforts for the past 10 years and have conducted about a dozen experiments explicitly examining the effects of robocalls, according to an online CNET News Oct. 23, 2008, article entitled “Election Day brings invasion of robocalls.” Green said there is no evidence that robocalls are effective if paired with political mailings.  Read the rest of this post at the Mississippi Business Journal. 

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