Political Parties Reap Data Mining Benefits

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 11-16-2006
WASHINGTON—Both major U.S. political parties entered into a new era in the way they use the information they collect on voters throughout the United States.

Using new levels of sophistication in how they collect, clean and manipulate the information in their massive databases, the parties are able to predict with reasonable accuracy how individual voters will vote when they get to the polls, and to target voters individually where needed.

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For example, the new level of sophistication allowed the Democratic National Committee to target specific voters in otherwise solidly Republican districts to get them to the polls on Election Day.

In the past, parties would target localities or districts with voter turnout efforts, which then failed to reach some voters because they lived areas that weren't targeted.

While both parties have been doing some measure of voter targeting for the last decade or so, only now have they had the ability to manipulate the vast databases of voter data quickly enough to use it tactically in campaigns.

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