LOS ANGELES — A roughly 10-minute, face-to-face conversation is enough to change about one in 10 voters’ attitudes toward transgender people, according to a new study by two California political science researchers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The findings, published in the journal Science, offer a template for canvassers looking to more effectively reach out to voters who may have opposing beliefs, the Times reports.
The Miami-Dade County Commission passed an ordinance protecting transgender people against discrimination in December 2014. SAVE, a south Florida LGBT organization, asked the Los Angeles LGBT Center to help them perform canvassing work, this time on transgender rights, the Times reports.
During the south Florida effort, David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, graduate students at University of California Berkeley set up an experiment in which 56 canvassers went door to door visiting 501 voters. About 255 of them were asked to think of a time when they had felt mistreated for being different, an exercise in analogic perspective taking, the Times reports. The rest were part of a control group that the canvassers spoke to about recycling. The researchers followed up with online surveys at three days, three weeks, six weeks and three months, the article said.
The scientists found that those who were asked to do analogic perspective-taking were significantly more likely to exhibit a higher tolerance toward transgender people than those who were in the control group. The effect, the researchers said, represented an even greater attitude change than the shift in American attitudes between 1998 and 2012 toward gays and lesbians, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Canvassers did not have to be trans themselves to be effective, researchers reported.