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New research shows political campaigns are wasting their money trying to persuade voters to switch parties. After running 49 field experiments on real-world campaigns, the Stanford-UC Berkeley joint study concludes the direct effect on the choice of candidate was essentially zero.
The researchers say the experiments throw cold water on the notion that all those billions spent on ads, mailers and door-to-door canvassing can convince Republicans to become Democrats or vice versa. However, they also found campaigns can get more bang for their buck by identifying pockets of persuadable voters who don't have strong partisan ties and also by registering new voters and increasing turnout.