Despite attempts to mobilize communities of color, gaps in turnout among racial and ethnic minorities persist (e.g., Abrajano et al., J Polit 70:368–382, 2008; Pantoja et al., Polit Res Q 54:729–750, 2001; Kaufmann, Polit Res Q 56:199–210, 2003; Ramirez, Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci 601:66–84, 2005, Am Polit Res 35:155–175, 2007). Scholars are only beginning to understand how parties or independent groups seek to mobilize these communities. In this paper, we develop and test the Differential Contact Thesis, which holds that turnout differences between whites and minority groups are influenced both by lower rates of contact by the parties and the use of less effective methods of contact. To test this, we examine data from the 2004 National Annenberg Election Study (NAES), 2004 American National Election Study (ANES), and the 2004 Miami Exit Poll. Our results support the Differential Contact Thesis: even controlling for the initial likelihood to be contacted by the parties, racial and ethnic minorities were less likely to be contacted using the most effective techniques. To some extent, non-partisan contact seems to compensate for the inattention of the major parties toward minority voters, but this contact is less likely to mobilize voters than contact from the parties.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 18, 2010
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