Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alleged robo-calling may have significantly impacted voting

Date:
March 14, 2012
Source:
Simon Fraser University
Summary:
An economist finds that robo-calling, if the phenomenon did occur, could have significantly influenced voter turnout and ballot results in the last federal election. Elections Canada is investigating New Democrat and Liberal party allegations that the Conservatives hired companies to robo-call voters in ridings across Canada, thereby influencing the Tories' 2011 federal election win.

In a new paper, a Simon Fraser University economist finds that robo-calling, if the phenomenon did occur, could have significantly influenced voter turnout and ballot results in the last federal election.

Anke Kessler's discussion paper is available on her website and on Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, an economics blog.

Elections Canada is investigating New Democrat and Liberal party allegations that the Conservatives hired companies to robo-call voters in ridings across Canada, thereby influencing the Tories' 2011 federal election win.

The term robo-calling describes a variety of tactics used to influence voter turnout and behaviour, including making harassing phone calls and advising voters to go to the wrong polling stations.

The number cruncher compared the voter turnout and ballot results in all ridings across Canada in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. In those ridings where Elections Canada is investigating robo-calling allegations about the 2011 election, Kessler teased out estimates on the number of voters per riding who were discouraged from going to the polls.

"Ridings where voters were allegedly targeted by robo-calls -- meaning they were possibly discouraged from voting or directed to the wrong polls -- experienced an estimated decline in voter turnout of three percentage points on average. This reduction in turnout translates into roughly 2,500 fewer eligible (registered) voters going to the polls."

Kessler's study indicates that in five ridings with the alleged robo-calling fewer than 2,500 votes were needed to ensure a Liberal or NDP victory. Hence her conclusion that any alleged robo-calling could have secured a Tory victory in those ridings.

"The average winning margin for districts with no robocall-allegations was 10,913 votes or 22.6 percentage points," explains Kessler. "Ridings where allegations of impropriety have emerged, in contrast, had a margin of victory that was almost 28 percent lower: 8,719 votes or 16.4 percentage points."

Kessler says curiosity about whether publicly available Elections Canada data on election results supported or negated the idea that robo-calling could influence voter turnout and ballot results drove her to download the data.

"It is important to note that my findings in no way can prove whether misconduct or an illegal act has occurred," emphasizes Kessler, who regularly analyses political organizational design, government structure and elections. "I wish to emphasize that my analysis and the corresponding results are not suited to bring into question the election outcome in any particular riding."

That being said, Kessler continues: "My analysis of the Elections Canada data suggests that any alleged robo-calling had a statistically significant impact on voter turnout and election results."

Further information: http://www.sfu.ca/%7Eakessler/wp/robocalls.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Simon Fraser University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Simon Fraser University. "Alleged robo-calling may have significantly impacted voting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314170642.htm>.
Simon Fraser University. (2012, March 14). Alleged robo-calling may have significantly impacted voting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314170642.htm
Simon Fraser University. "Alleged robo-calling may have significantly impacted voting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314170642.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Google says it is following Europe's new "Right To Be Forgotten Law," which eliminates user information upon request, but only to a certain degree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Tests 'Sobriety Tags' On Alcohol-Related Offenders

London Tests 'Sobriety Tags' On Alcohol-Related Offenders

Newsy (July 31, 2014) London launched a program to test ankle bracelets that detect if a person has been drinking while on probation for an alcohol-related crime. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins