Now used with equal zest by presidential candidates and unknowns running for low-level office, the calls that have generated controversy this month have been fixtures of national campaigns since the mid-1990s â€“ despite little statistical evidence that they do anything more than annoy recipients.
“We, so far, found a perfect record of it never working,” said Donald Green, director of Yale University’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies, who studied the effect of robocalls in campaigns since 2000. “No one particularly welcomes these calls, even when they’re from an organization to which one is generally sympathetic.”
Understandably, the purveyors of this automated chatter disagree…
Gilmore, president of Democratic Dialing which makes calls for Democrats, said he is “obviously not convinced” by Green’s conclusions.
“The value of the calls is proven,” he said, when callers avoid inconvenient times and negative content. “The people who win campaigns use robocalls. They use them sensitively.” […]
Originally, firms charged about 25 cents per call. But now they’re down to four cents â€“ and some cost less than a penny, said Shaun Dakin, founder of the National Political Do Not Contact Registry.
So budget-conscious campaigns use them. Sixty-four per cent of registered voters received an automated call in the last two weeks of the 2006 congressional mid-terms, a Pew poll reported.
Just my guess on this…if people get swayed by an automated voice on a phone, then they were probably going to vote that way anyway.
In other words, I don’t think they work. And they’ll work even less as generations pass.