Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Data Unravels Voters' Political DNA"

CBS News Video (text and video):

Micro-targeting is all about unraveling a voter's political DNA, including data such as where people shop. The data suggests Target customers are more likely to be Democrat, while Wal-Mart shoppers tend to be Republican.

Republicans also like bourbon, but Democrats prefer gin. Even a voter's morning cup of coffee is figured into the equation: Starbucks drinkers lean left, while Dunkin' Donuts patrons lean more right.

The Republicans say micro-targeting played a big part in getting George Bush re-elected in Ohio the last time around.

Democrats are now catching on. One neighborhood outside Cincinnati usually votes about 70 percent Republican. But Democrats are campaigning there anyway.

Chris Gafney, a Democratic strategist, says it's not quite enemy territory — "we like to think of them as misguided friends," he quips.

The micro-targeters don't go to every house, just the ones their computer has determined might be Democrat-friendly.

It's not a perfect science. There are plenty of Target-shopping Republicans and rifle-toting Democrats. However, both sides agree that micro-targeting is better than a shotgun approach to politics, especially when the races are tight and both sides need a secret weapon.

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