Please answer the phone (or text), this is the Democratic Party calling

Gopal Ratnam, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

The DNC model helps predict the likelihood that a number in the database is not only correct but that the voter is likely to pick up the phone. Or a voter may have multiple phone numbers and uses them for different purposes, and the DNC's data model then creates a score for which number the voter is most likely to answer, she said. The model also helps predict whether a voter prefers a voice call or a text, she said.

The predictive model has been designed and refined over the years by combining the 300 million-plus database of Americans with varied other information to glean an accurate picture of citizens and how to reach them, Thomas said.

The national voter file is typically combined with consumer demographic data to gain insights, such as voters with children above the age of 16, or those with college education. That is then further refined in each local, congressional, and presidential election cycle with the "history of any interaction between any Democratic campaign and that voter or potential voter," she said.

All Democratic campaigns around the country share information with the DNC on their engagement with voters. The committee then refines the database using its model and shares it back with campaigns, she said.

Having accurate records, including working cellphones for voters, also helps target online advertising, Thomas said.

When campaigns target custom audiences of about 10,000 voters in a city or a county on Facebook, for example, they upload voters' first and last names, along with their addresses, cellphone numbers and known emails, she said. Facebook then can match those records with what the social media platform has on its database.


Without an accurate cellphone number, the match rate could be approximately around 40%, but with a phone number, the match rate can go up to as much as 70% -- and helps campaigns deliver messages online to voters who may not otherwise be reachable on social media platforms, Thomas said.

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