What campaigns know about U.S. voters and how they use it to shape their strategies

By Elizabeth Culliford

Excerpt from Reuters Graphics:

” In the United States, political campaigns use data on more than 200 million voting-age Americans to inform their strategies and tactics.

The two major U.S. parties compete to use the most accurate data to target voters in various ways, an edge that was touted as key in former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump’s election victories.

The U.S. “voter file” is not one national database. The information used by the campaigns is collected from many public voter files, layered with hundreds of data points bought from commercial vendors, and updated regularly by firms like TargetSmart, which works for Democrats, and Data Trust, which helps Republicans.

Campaigns may have different agreements with the political parties about sharing the data they collect but many will feed data back into a central system to improve the overall voter file.

Data Trust, a private company started in 2011 which has an exclusive agreement with the Republican National Committee (RNC) , also facilitates data exchanges between Republican committees and organizations.

As part of efforts to overhaul Democratic data operations following Trump’s win, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic state parties agreed to participate in the Democratic Data Exchange…”