Issue cross-pressures and campaign effects : connecting the right voters with the right message
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The overwhelming majority of partisans share common ground with the opposing party on at least some policy issues. It has long been proffered that presidential campaigns can persuade out-partisans by highlighting their shared policy goals. Today, political campaigns are believed to be better at identifying voters who may be receptive to their message and identifying voters who have the same policy positions as the candidates than in any previous presidential election. Armed with data on which voters should be targeted and which issues are the right issues to emphasize when targeting these voters, campaigns should be able to more efficiently and more effectively mobilize and persuade voters. I use data and contact records from recent presidential elections to demonstrate that by measuring the campaigns−specifically the issues they choose to address−the large percentage of cross-pressured partisans can be narrowed to a subset of cross-pressured partisans who agree with the opposing party’s presidential campaign on one or more the campaign issues. This smaller group of cross-pressured partisans is more likely to both cross party lines on Election Day and abstain from voting all together when the opposing party contacts them with the right issue message.