Rapid Message Test Results: Child Tax Credit

This experiment, which ran March 24 – 30, 2022, tested whether Instagram/TikTok-style videos about the expanded child tax credit could be politically persuasive with a parent audience, defined as having at least one child under the age of 18 still living at home. One randomly selected group was shown a “placebo” video and other randomly selected groups were shown one of our two persuasion videos, which can be viewed here: (1) CTC – Ailen and (2) CTC – Robyn. After viewing the placebo or one of the persuasion videos, respondents were asked three success questions comparing the major political parties. By looking at the difference in results, we can assess the persuasion impact of our videos.

The three success questions we asked were:

  1. In your opinion, which major political party does a better job of handling issues that affect families like yours?
  2. If the November 2022 election for US Congress were held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate, the Republican candidate, or another candidate?
  3. In your opinion, which major political party cares more about families who are struggling to make ends meet?

    Both videos persuaded parents to support Democrats at a statistically significant rate across all three questions.

The two videos, though quite different in both style and content, center around real-life examples. CTC – Robyn follows the path of a family before CTC was expanded, during, and now that monthly CTC  checks have stopped, showing the reality of the decisions families are being forced to make. CTC – Ailen is a role-played conversation between friends at the playground about why the monthly checks stopped arriving. By making the videos relatable, we believe it helps the viewer understand the impact the expanded child tax credit could have in their personal circumstances and makes the connection that Democrats are fighting for the expanded CTC while Republicans are standing in the way. This relatability approach is a potential content style for further testing. The CTC – Robyn video showed statistical significance with respondents who are Black (+26 point difference), identify as a moderate (+22 point difference), and across all urbanicities (Rural: +21 point difference; Suburban: +19 point difference; Urban: +18 point difference).

In the videos, we explicitly named that Democrats were fighting for the expanded child tax credit and Republicans were standing in the way. With such a short video, we wanted to limit any inferences the viewer would have to make and wanted to state plainly the distinction in the parties’ position on the child tax credit. Both videos performed well with those respondents who voted for Republicans in the 2020 election, with the CTC – Robyn video showing a +10 point difference and the CTC – Ailen video showing a +6 point difference.

Of the respondents in this test, those who identify as either moderates or conservatives showed statistical significance in persuading them that Democrats care more about families struggling to make ends meet. Notably, the CTC – Robyn video showed a +15 point difference with moderates and a +14 point difference with conservatives while the CTC – Ailen video showed a +12 point difference with moderates and a +14 point difference with conservatives.


These two videos suggest that the child tax credit is an issue that can persuade a parent audience, a key political battleground constituency, toward trusting and supporting Democrats in this year’s midterm election. While more testing is needed, there are indications that this content is effective both with base voters and with persuadable voters.

We plan to continue testing content to learn more about these groups, and more about the issues, styles of content, and messages that are most effective in moving support toward Democrats.