THANKS, BUT ...: Arkansas travelers canvassed for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Study suggests it might have been a waste of time.

Here’s some depressing news from Vox for people who’ve poured their souls into political campaigns, particularly losing ones:

All the outreach activity by political campaigns, including door to door canvassing, phone banking, direct mail, and even advertising, has basically no effect on voters’ choice of candidate in general elections, according to a striking new academic study.

The new analysis covers 49 field experiments conducted in real US election campaigns, typically run with cooperation from the campaigns themselves.

Campaigns spend millions of dollars during general elections on canvassing; phone banking; advertising on TV, radio, and the internet; and other efforts designed to win over undecided voters and supporters of the opposing candidate. The new study’s authors, UC Berkeley political scientist Joshua Kalla and Stanford professor David Broockman, conclude that essentially no one targeted is persuaded.

The story goes on to say that partisanship and pre-existing beliefs triumph. (Perhaps, I’d add, influenced by Russian social media trolls and truly fake news.) Sigh. On the other hand, perhaps some more campaign SWAT teams would NOT have mattered for Hillary in Wisconsin, Michigan, etc. after all.