ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Political candidates aren’t shy about telling us what they want us to know about them and their opponents, but what do they know about us, the voters?
Quite a bit, according to Missouri Republican Chair and KMOX host John Hancock.
Hancock says that in addition to the basics, like our age, how often we vote and the income level of our neighborhoods, campaigns also collect what they call “microtargeted data.”
“Based on demographic attributes,” he says, “sometimes we can know magazine subscriptions. We might know if you have a gun permit to hunt or a fishing license.”
Hancock says most of that information is public, but they also buy things like subscriber lists and conduct door-to-door or over-the-phone surveys.
“We take all of this stuff, along with your census block, ” he says, “and extrapolate from that behaviors. It’s pretty remarkable how close you can get to somebody’s core ideologies, most important issues, the things that persuade them.”
Hancock says the information can be critical to a campaign.
“If you’re going to be successful, you need to have a strong data operation in your campaign. That’s becoming increasingly important for persuasion and for just vote turnout,” he says.
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