Driving Voter Turnout in 2020: Research on Effective Messaging Strategies for Each Generation

What messaging and prompts are most motivating to would-be voters?

The Ad Council and Democracy Works joined forces to understand how people in the U.S. view voting—and identify what messaging will influence potential voters to get out and vote.

Why we conducted this research:

Voting rates in the U.S. are critically low – hovering around 60% for presidential elections and dipping even lower for midterms (between 40 - 50%) and local elections (often below 20%). The good news is that the 2018 midterm elections saw the country’s highest midterm turnout in over 100 years.  We wanted to build on that momentum and help drive voter turnout across all ages for the 2020 elections and beyond.

Our research looked at four generations: baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z. Specifically, we sought to:

  • Uncover overall attitudes toward and perceptions of voting
  • Explore messages that have influenced perceptions and attitudes on voting in the past
  • Understand reactions to specific message frames among these four generations
  • Determine which message framing could be most effective in driving turnout

This research is designed to help any organization (whether you’re a nonprofit, corporation, or local government agency) seeking to raise voter turnout by inspiring voters to get to the polls in 2020 and beyond.

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