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Prescription Drug Trials for Democracy

- October 30, 2010

bq. An increasingly influential cadre of Democratic strategists is finding new ideas in the same place Malchow did: behavioral-science experiments that treat campaigns as their laboratories and voters as unwitting guinea pigs. The growing use of experimental methods — Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote, calls them “prescription drug trials for democracy” — is convulsing a profession where hunches and instinct have long ruled. Already, experimental findings have upended a lot of folk wisdom about how votes are won.

That’s from a NY Times Magazine “story”:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/magazine/31politics-t.html?_r=2&ref=magazine that’s essentially about field experiments in campaigns. Among the work discussed is that of “Don Green”:http://vote.research.yale.edu/, “Alan Gerber”:http://pantheon.yale.edu/~agerber/, and the “Analyst Institute”:http://www.analystinstitute.org/.

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