The candidates’ automated call campaigns have received a lot of attention, but text-messaging, which only the Obama campaign uses, is likely to have a much more potent effect on the race, writes Farhad Manjoo for Slate. Studies have shown that personal appeals are more effective at mobilizing voters than mailers or robo-calls: Door-to-door visits by volunteers are the most effective.
“The beauty of text-messaging,” Manjoo writes, “is that it is both automated and personalized.” Texts are cheap, about $0.06 per message, and unlike spam-ridden email, voters are likely to actually read them. In one study, texts increased voter turnout by 3.1%. And Obama’s texts can be tailored to your ZIP code, so voters get state-specific reminders for registration deadlines and other important dates.