Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2017


This project is a case study of the types and effectiveness of voter mobilization efforts in the U.S. presidential elections of 1828 and 2008. Political parties, candidate campaigns and interest groups utilize a variety of different voter mobilization tactics with the goal of persuading potential voters to make the leap to become voters. By utilizing newspapers and academic works, I determined the tactics that political organizations deployed to mobilize potential voters in both election years. Innovative mobilization tactics evolved in the presidential elections of 1828 and 2008, including the development of a two-party system and the use of the internet to distribute mobilizing messages which is why I have chosen to study them together. Additionally, the winning candidates of 1828 and 2008 were more representative of the American population. I utilized election result data, ANES and exit polls to determine the effectiveness of voter mobilization efforts at increasing voter turnout rates. Voter turnout rates were compared to turnout rates in neighboring election years to provide context for the dramatic changes that occurred in 1828 and 2008. The evidence suggests that voter mobilization efforts were effective at persuading potential voters to participate.