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Political Science


An invariant feature of constituency election campaigns is the literature mail drop, usually a one-page leaflet or card left at the door profiling the candidate and appealing for electoral support. In this article, we report on a field experiment designed to assess the effects of such mail drops. The experiment was conducted during the 2007 Ontario provincial election campaign in the constituency of Cambridge and entailed distributing literature for the Green party candidate in that constituency. After randomly assigning constituency polls to treatment and control groups, and delivering the Green candidate’s partisan literature only to the selected treatment group polls, we compared the candidate’s support levels in the treated polls with those in the control group. Our research detected a modest effect associated with the literature drop. The effect was largely limited to constituency neighbourhoods fitting at least part of the Green party’s traditional demographic, that is, those with higher than average socio-economic status.


This article was originally published in Canadian Journal of Political Science, 43(1): 49-67. © 2010 Cambridge University Press