Microtargeting, Turnout Frenzy and the Last Days of Campaign 2006

We’re almost there — months of plans, experiments, strategy and sweat come down to one final day. And of course, that one day comes down to turnout — who’s actually going to show up at the polls? Let’s imagine what’s going to happen between now and Tuesday.

The advertising frenzy will be obvious to anyone with a television in a competitive district, but less apparent will be the database-driven work behind the scenes. The time to build lists is over; now let’s see how well they work. Last-minute direct mail pieces will shower mailboxes, robo-calls will assault ears and answering machines, and volunteers will groan under the weight of neighborhood walk-lists and call-lists. Moveon.org alone is trying to use online tools to organize 1,000,000 calls to potential voters before the election.

The media has really begun to notice the role of political databases — just Google the word “microtargeting” and see how many recent articles show up. Will the much-vaunted Voter Vault be enough to overcome Republican voters’ lower enthusiasm this year? Have the Dems learned enough to blunt the power of the 72-Hour Project? Political news stories are going to come fast and furious over the next few days, so pass along anything you see that’s enlightening.


Written by
Colin Delany
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