Taking a page from Obama's playbook, the GOP will abandon a voter targeting operation that relies on files that simply identify individual voters and their voting history. The new system will focus more broadly on people, even those who never voted, to identify likely voters, expand the universe of potential voters and provide a more accurate measure of the Republican Party's strength.
But hurdles abound for Barkett, who must build a digital data infrastructure virtually from scratch. Among them is that an outside group, Data Trust, and not the party will manage what Barkett considers to be one of the RNC's key improvements over Obama's 2012 operation: The ability to securely share data with GOP allies, who in turn will share information they've gathered with the RNC to further strengthen the network.
The system Barkett's building is expected to mine relevant information about potential voters through publicly available social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and then weave that data into an accurate, accessible and regularly updated file that can be shared. Some of the data collected will be very basic, like whether the potential voters prefers to communicate by smartphone or laptop email.
Barkett's system will include two innovations. One would collect information from television set-top boxes and show a campaign not only individual viewing habits but also whether the voter saw a specific political ad.
The second innovation would collect data from social networks about targeted demographic groups and allow a campaign to deliver customized digital ads to as few as a dozen or so voters.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
At The Washington Examiner, David Drucker writes of RNC chief information officer Andy Barkett: