Voter Mobilization: Message Testing

10.18.2020
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Hunger Free America

Voter Mobilization:  Message Testing

We conducted 633 interviews among American adults in households with annual incomes below $50,000 who are Less than Certain/Very Likely to vote in November, including those who are and those who are not registered to vote.

Results Summary

Reasons Not To Vote

  • Respondents most frequently felt “The richest few have all the power so there is no point in voting” as a reason not to vote, with 48% of respondents saying they felt this way all the time or pretty often.
    • This was followed closely by “One vote out of millions does not matter”, with 47% of respondents saying they felt this way all the time or pretty often.
    •  At a close 46% was “Voting never changes anything”
  • The reason least frequently cited was “It’s too much time and hassle to vote”, with 33% of respondents saying they felt this way all the time or pretty often

Responses To Objections

  • The most convincing argument against there not being enough difference between the candidates or parties was “Just because people aren’t perfect, that doesn’t mean they are all the same.  Voting gives you power to pick the best available choice”
    • 56% of respondents said the statement was “very convincing’ or “somewhat convincing”
  • The most convincing argument against one vote not mattering was “Many important local elections, especially those that affect neighborhoods and schools and quality of life, are really close.”
    • 61% of respondents said the statement was “very convincing’ or “somewhat convincing”
    • 57% felt similarly about “Many important national elections, such as the 2000 or 2016 elections for President, are really close.”
      • The more localized message was marginally more convincing than a similar message at the national level (4% difference)
  • The most convincing argument against the rich having more power than voters was “Lots of us together have more power than each of us on our own.”
    • 61% of respondents said the statement was “very convincing’ or “somewhat convincing”
    • Shifting the focus towards the rich by adding the italicized words to the following statement was more convincing by 6 percentage points: “It’s only because so many lower-income people don’t vote that politicians allow low-wage jobs, hunger, poverty, and homelessness in the United States while bankers and corporations get billions of dollars in bailouts every time.
    • Only saying “It’s only because so many lower-income people don’t vote that politicians allow low-wage jobs, hunger, poverty, and homelessness in the United States.” was also the least convincing argument in the survey, with only 46% of respondents saying the statement was “very convincing’ or “somewhat convincing”
  • The most convincing argument against it being too much time and hassle to vote was “It’s now easier, quicker, and safer to vote by mail and/or vote early in most states.”
    • 61% of respondents said the statement was “very convincing’ or “somewhat convincing”
    • Overall, this was the most convincing argument in the survey
  • The most convincing argument against voting never changing anything was “Voting can force politicians to put real money in your pocket by forcing them to pass laws that increase wages or tax refunds for working people.”
    • 53% of respondents said the statement was “very convincing’ or “somewhat convincing”

Other Results
  • When asked “If a candidate proved to you that they would fight for the things you care about to make things better for you and your community, would that make you more likely to vote?”, 48% said they would be “much more likely to vote” or “a bit more likely”. 41% said “about the same”.
  • A numbers of voters volunteered that they thought the Electoral College made their vote less significant.

Read the complete poll questions and findings: