Getting up off the Canvass

Kenneth M. Goldstein and Matthew Holleque

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Getting up off the Canvass

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  • Politics
  • US Politics
  • Political Behaviour


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This article outlines some of the literature on political mobilization and expands the field's research agenda beyond the typical canvassing activities. It describes the importance of political mobilization for both academics and political professionals. It then presents concerns about the study of mobilization, particularly the problems of endogeneity in observational studies and the use of field experiments. Finally, it turns the attention to the future of research on mobilization, arguing that more attention should be paid to how messages mobilize. The observations of political campaigns and the conversations with professionals who make their living doing election fieldwork strongly suggest that message matters. It is time to put politics and strategy back into the study of a political strategy, the article suggests.

Keywords: political mobilization; canvassing; endogeneity; field experiments; political campaigns; election fieldwork

Article.  7750 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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