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The Research Behind MoveOn’s Member-Driven Election Strategy

The stakes of the 2024 election are sky-high: Our democracy is under attack, our rights have been rolled back by a right-wing-packed Supreme Court, and MAGA Republicans continue to wreak havoc in state governments.

Our goal in 2024 is to reelect President Biden and Vice President Harris, protect the Senate, and secure a Democratic majority in the House. To do this, we’ve identified the specific voters, known as surge voters, who can deliver a victory in the key states and districts across the country. These voters started voting after 2016, either for the first time or more frequently, but don’t vote consistently. We need them all to turn out, because when they do, they are very likely to vote for Democrats up and down the ballot.

Given this focus on a specific subset of voters, MoveOn’s strategy is to develop a deep connection with these voters. This allows us to focus our efforts where we know we can have the most impact.

MoveOn’s member-driven voter contact plan aims to reach individual voters three or more times before Election Day. In the spring and summer, our outreach will be aimed at persuading surge voters that their vote matters and inspiring them to turn out by November. Then, in the fall, we will contact them again to ask them to triple their vote by getting three or more friends and family members to vote as well. Surge voters are more likely to vote when they’ve made a commitment to remind their community to be a voter with them. Since surge voters tend to be friends with other surge voters, their reminder increases the likelihood that other infrequent voters will vote too!

The strategy of reaching out to voters three+ times is rooted in years of experience and rigorous testing. Here are a few concepts that informed the plan:

  • Combining canvassing, phone calls, and postcards. Contacting voters by more than one communication method increases the overall impact. MoveOn found this in our 2022 election program—voters who we were able to reach with a digital ad and a phone call were an estimated 2.1 percentage points (pp) more likely to vote than members of a random control group, and those who received a text message and a call were an estimated 1.3pp more likely to vote than a random control group. Those who received only one contact were not significantly more likely to vote. This follows similar findings across political campaigns. A congressional campaign in New York found in 2018 that combining TV ads, mail, and digital ads was over three times more effective at motivating people to vote than mail alone. And a Senate campaign in Pennsylvania found that combining mail and canvassing increased support for the Democrat by 7.4 percentage points. 


  • Diminishing returns within the same methods. Decades of random control trials where campaigns and organizations compare sending one piece of mail to sending two, three, four, or more pieces during an election cycle have found that the first piece of mail is the most impactful. One group estimates each subsequent mail piece performs about 17% worse than the previous one. This happens in part because the first mailing already convinced the majority of people who will be convinced by receiving mail. Sending a second piece of mail to someone who throws out everything that looks like a political flyer is not going to make much impact. This is why, by using multiple communication channels—mail, phones, and canvassing—we’ll be maximizing the impact of each contact in each channel and avoiding diminishing returns with multiple expensive follow-ups.


  • Increase recall. We consume so much content, from social media to TV and beyond, that it’s easy to forget a single contact. Studies have found that voters recall a single contact with a campaign for a few weeks to a few months. This is why so many campaigns barrage voters with calls and texts in the final few days of a campaign, which MoveOn has found can have a backlash effect—making the voters less likely to vote. Voters who received four or more text messages in 2022 were an estimated 3-5pp less likely to vote than members of a random control group. By contacting voters a few times over the spring and summer, we’re building up their recognition of MoveOn and hopefully making them more likely to take action with us in the fall by voting.


This program builds off of 25 years of experience, including our 2022 election program which increased voter turnout in our target states and districts by an estimated 0.66 to 0.69 percentage points, resulting in 48,000 to 50,000 additional voters turning out to vote.

MoveOn is backed by millions of members, powerful analytics, and seasoned political campaigners. Together, our outreach to voters in person, on phones, and across the internet will match the right messages to the right voters in the most important districts, to maximize our impact.

Ready to get involved to win across the country in November? Sign up here to be a Vote Mobilizer.