The president of the United States has amassed a massive voter data mine with "files" on millions of American citizens. The president's presidential campaign utilized this data, including voters' magazine subscriptions, car registrations, housing values and hunting licenses, to formulate scores that help identify and motivate likely voters.
Yes, that would make a fantastic plot for a political thriller novel, but Barack Obama's voter database is real -- and it's growing in size and implementation. Even though Obama won the election less than a month ago, Democrats already want to "expand and redeploy the most sophisticated voter list in American political history," The Washington Post reports. The Left will apparently start by using the database in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernational races in 2013 and then in various campaigns in the future.
Some Republican strategists are concerned, but not due to the invasive tactics the database employs to collect your personal, albeit publicly available, information. They don't want to have to play "catch-up" in the upcoming elections.
“It’s always hard to play catch-up…It can be done by 2016. I’m much more doubtful it can happen by 2014," said Peter Pasi, a Republican direct marketer who worked on Rick Santorum’s 2012 campaign.
The Washington Post has more details on the voter database compiled by the Obama campaign:
The database consists of voting records and political donation histories bolstered by vast amounts of personal but publicly available consumer data, say campaign officials and others familiar with the operation, which was capable of recording hundreds of fields for each voter.
Campaign workers added far more detail through a broad range of voter contacts — in person, on the phone, over e-mail or through visits to the campaign’s Web site. Those who used its Facebook app, for example, had their files updated with lists of their Facebook friends along with scores measuring the intensity of those relationships and whether they lived in swing states. If their last names seemed Hispanic, a key target group for the campaign, the database recorded that, too.
The result was a digital operation far more elaborate than the one mounted by Obama’s Republican rival, Mitt Romney, who collected less data and deployed it less effectively, say officials from both parties.
To maintain their advantage, Democrats say they must guard against the propensity of political data to deteriorate in off years, when funding and attention dwindles, while navigating the inevitable intra-party squabbles over who gets access now that the unifying forces of a billion-dollar presidential campaign are gone.
Meanwhile, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who lost a previous bid for Virginia governor in 2009, has expressed interest about using the data for the state's 2013 election.
“We have been communicating to Obama For America all along about the importance of receiving that data, since Virginia has a 2013 election,” said Brian Moran, the soon-to-be former chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party.
Interestingly, "Republicans once held the edge in using technology to identify and motivate voters. After Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) lost to President George W. Bush in 2004, Democrats invested in building better voter lists and in developing a new generation of political operatives skilled in the science of persuasion and motivation," the report states.
To read The Washington Post's entire report, click here.