People’s Action Institute and three of its member groups, Down Home North CarolinaMichigan United, and Pennsylvania Stands Up, with support from the New Conversation Institute, developed the first deep canvass to focus on conservative rural and small town communities, with the goal of countering the impact of divide-and-conquer, anti-immigrant messaging.

David Broockman from Stanford University and Josh Kalla from Yale University measured the impact of this deep canvass, and found that found these canvassers’ conversations created an 8 percentage point shift in voters’ support for including undocumented immigrants in the healthcare social safety net.

This is a much larger shift than is seen in most attempts to persuade. By comparison, that represents a significantly larger shift than:

  • The shift of voters away from Democrats in Michigan between 2012 and 2016
  • The impacts of powerful social pressure tactics on turnout in a quiet election.

The persuasive impact of this deep canvass persisted for at least 5 months – as long as the researchers were able to continue measuring.

In addition, even though canvassers never mentioned partisan politics in any way, or the word “Trump,” the conversations created a measurable reduction in support for Trump, with those effects appearing to persist as well.