Campaigning Doesn’t Work?

Here is another post with insights from a CHQ team member centered around a study that was released last September. The authors of the study used evidence from field experiments to highlight campaign contact in elections. CHQ Campaign Director, Walter Haynie, delivers some great takeaways in his blog post.

I hope you’ll keep reading.

Nicole Schlinger, President of Campaign Headquarters


A lot of buzz has been generated by the recent study on the persuasive effects of campaign contact, authored by UC Berkeley political scientist, Joshua Kalla and Stanford professor David Broockman. If you haven’t seen it, here is the full 166 page study including data on 49 field experiments. Below is a more lunch-time digestible summary.

The media went nuts on this one, with headlines like, “The End of Political Campaigns As We Know Them?” and “Traditional Campaign Tactics Are Basically A Waste Of Time.”  Not surprisingly, the headlines ignore large swaths of the authors’ findings: voter contact works to persuade voters, but only when it’s done right.  

Broockman and Kalla argue that primaries and ballot measures are where persuasion tactics work best.


“We find campaigns are able to have meaningful persuasive effects in primary and ballot measure campaigns, when partisan cues are not present … We see clear significant effects in both these election types.”

The reason, they suggest, is that it is difficult to persuade someone to vote against party cues. Big surprise there. It is therefore relatively much easier to persuade voters toward your candidate or ballot measure when party cues are not present.

Despite the headlines, the study does not assume that voter contact efforts don’t matter in general elections, only that persuasive efforts in general elections do not measurably convince voters to step across party lines. The authors suggest the more significant impacts of campaigns during general elections are to:


“reinforce the political orientations of voters, and mobilize them to vote rather than convert large segments of the population to new ways of thinking… Campaigns clearly can influence whether voters bother to vote at all. Indeed, another implication of our results is that campaigns may underinvest in voter turnout efforts.” 

So what’s my take-away?

  1. Campaigns will get their best “bang for their buck” by focusing persuasive voter contact spending during races lacking party cues, namely ballot initiatives and primary elections.
  2. Once general election races have started, voter contact dollars are probably best spent on GOTV efforts rather than persuasive ones- mobilize the friends you already have, and get them to the voting booth!
  3. If your campaign relies on persuading voters to reconsider their position, you had better identify persuadable voters early on if you want voter contact efforts to be effective.

Do you agree or disagree with Broockman and Kalla? Is this useful academic research, or left-wing nonsense?

Walter Haynie

Campaign Headquarters, Campaign Director

Why a Call Center?

In 1999, I founded CampaignHQ with the mission of helping Iowa Republican candidates raise money through major donor solicitations, event management, house parties and mailings. With anywhere from 6 to 10 events each week, I couldn’t find a call center willing and able to handle the event turnout calls needed to make each one a success. So I began hiring people to make those calls, originally from paper printouts on landline phones.

As the business grew, the demand for call center services quickly surpassed the limited need for a stand-in finance director in local and statewide races. So CampaignHQ became a national firm, expanding outside Iowa in 2007.

I’m proud of the firm CampaignHQ is today – one known for creative solutions, quick turnaround, competitive pricing, and legendary customer service. The next time you want a call center that will treat you like family, give us a call.

-Nicole Schlinger

President, Campaign Headquarters

It Makes a Difference

As we’re nearing Election Day, 2018, I’ve decided to share a few past posts that are still relevant today. These insights from the Campaign Headquarters team provide a great look at the work we do to advance the conservative cause each and every day.

“It Makes A Difference” was originally posted in 2017 after the Republicans lost the fight defunding Planned Parenthood. We took Sen. Lindsey Graham’s advice (noted below) and started our efforts earlier and saw a monumental victory for the pro-life movement.

I hope you enjoy these flashback posts as much as I do.

-Nicole Schlinger






The best part about working at CampaignHQ is the assurance that we are making a difference.

We work with a whole host of amazing clients and to pick one as my favorite would be impossible, but to put together a shortlist would not.  On that short list would be The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA).

Not only are they great people to work with but they are difference makers. They are always the first pro-life group to jump into action when a legislator needs to hear from his or her constituents.

I believe SBA is one of the most impressive and action oriented pro-life groups in the country. They are gearing up for the elections by preparing to target vulnerable pro-abortion senators. In fact, they have already knocked on more than 100,000 doors in the targeted states.

Recently, Senator Lindsey Graham did a microforum with SBA.   During the microforum Senator Graham discussed the next steps for defunding Planned Parenthood. We were thrilled to hear him speak these words, “Your phone calls made a difference, and next year we just need to get started earlier.”


The President of The Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, had kind words to say about CampaignHQ Patch Through Calls as well,  “We have found the use of patch through calls during the height of the battle an excellent way to get our supporters to engage with elected officials. CampaignHQ is flexible and nimble. They have learned the importance of launching a campaign quickly and we appreciate that.”


So if you do want to be a difference maker, consider giving us a call to launch your patch through calls, because after all – your phone calls make a difference!

-Marlys Popma, Senior Campaign Director, Campaign Headquarters