UpRise Original Research

Despite its huge popularity among volunteers, people are hesitant to adopt postcard writing as a serious campaign strategy due to the lack of solid data.

In order to better measure the impact of hand written postcards and hand addressed letters, UpRise conducted three large scale experiments in the 2018 midterm elections with the volunteers of Arizona Legislative Districts 21 and 22.

We expected no impact at all, given that these voters were the recipients of dozens of pieces of mail as well as endless calls, door knocks and TV ads.

Much to our surprise, we saw significant impact from a single contact!


Hand written postcards to less-likely-to-vote Democrats increased turnout in the 2018 midterm general election by 2.37 percentage points (from 50.59% to 52.96%) compared with a randomized control group.

Here are the results of our three experiments:

Psychology of Persuasion

Cognitive Science


Lakoff, George (2014). The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. Chelsea Green Publishing

Lakoff, George (2008). The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain. New York: Viking Penguin

Lakoff, George (1996). Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Clinical Neuroscience


Westen, Drew ( 2008). The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. Public Affairs

Offline Outreach

Field Operations

Vincent Pons (2016). Will a Five-Minute Discussion Change Your Mind? A Countrywide Experiment on Voter Choice in France. Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 16-079, January 2016.

Ryan D. Enos and Anthony Fowler (2015). Aggregate Effects of Large-Scale Campaigns on Voter Turnout.


Contagion   invisibleinfluence

Jonah Berger and Eric M. Schwartz (2011). What Drives Immediate and Ongoing Word of Mouth? Journal of Marketing Research, 48 (5), 869-880.

Donald P. Green, Jonathan S. Krasno, Alexander Coppock, et al. (2016). The Effects of Lawn Signs on Vote Outcomes: Results from Four Randomized Field Experiments. Electoral Studies, 41, 143–150

Cindy Kam and Elizabeth Zechmeister (2013). Name Recognition and Candidate Support. American Journal of Political Science, 57, 971–986

Influencer, Word of Mouth Marketing


Keller, Ed and Berry, Jonathan (2003). The Influentials: One American in Ten Tells the Other Nine How to Vote, Where to Eat, and What to Buy. New York: The Free Press.

Face to Face

Keller, Ed and Fay, Brad (2012). The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace. New York: The Free Press.

Ed Keller and Brad Fay (2009). Comparing Online and Offline Word of Mouth: Quantity, Quality and Impact. New Brunswick, NJ: Keller Fay Group

Issenberg, Sasha (2012). The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. Broadway Books

Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA) (2013). State of Word of Mouth Marketing Survey.

Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report (2015).

Street Teams

The Victory Lab

Issenberg, Sasha (2012). The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. Broadway Books, pp. 288-289

Costas Panagopoulos (2009) Street fight: The impact of a street sign campaign on voter turnout. Electoral Studies, 28 (2), 309–313

Community Building

Applebees America

Fournier, Ron, Sosnick, Douglas B., and Dowd, Matthew (2006). Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community. Simon & Schuster

Advertising Effects

Vote Share

Liam C Malloy and Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz (2016).  Going Positive: The Effects of Negative and Positive Advertising on Candidate Success and Voter Turnout. Research and Politics, January-March 2016.

Richard R. Lau, Lee Sigelman, and Ivy Brown Rovner (2007). The Effects of Negative Political Campaigns: A Meta-Analytic Reassessment.  Journal of Politics, 69 (4), 1176-1209.

Stephen Ansolabehere, Shanto Iyengar, et al. (1994). Does Attack Advertising Demobilize the Electorate? American Political Science Review, 88, pp 829-838.

Chris W. Bonneau and Damon M. Cann (2011). Campaign Spending, Diminishing Marginal Returns, and Campaign Finance Restrictions in Judicial Elections. The Journal of Politics, 73 , 1267-1280

Michael M. Franz and Travis N. Ridout (2010).  Political Advertising and Persuasion in the 2004 and 2008 Presidential Elections, American Politics Research, 38, 303

Thomas Stratmann (2009). How Prices Matter in Politics: The Returns to Campaign Advertising.  Public Choice, 140 (3/4), 357-377

Seth J. Hill, et al. (2008). The Duration of Advertising Effects in the 2000 Presidential Campaign. MPSA Annual National Conference, Chicago, IL, Apr 03, 2008

Gregory A. Huber and Kevin Arceneaux (2007). Identifying the Persuasive Effects of Presidential Advertising. American Journal of Political Science, 51, 957–977.

Issue Targeting

John Sides and Andrew Karch (2008). Messages that Mobilize? Issue Publics and the Content of Campaign Advertising. The Journal of Politics, 70 (2), 466-476.

Direct Mail and Phone Calls

Emily A. Cardy (2005). An Experimental Field Study of the GOTV and Persuasion Effects of Partisan Direct Mail and Phone Calls. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 601: 28-40.