Republican data strategy for 2014: community organizing

BY Ellen Rolfes  May 8, 2014 at 6:18 PM EDT

logo_1Republicans hope to improve their groundgame to “locate, communicate with, persuade and turn out voters” in order to clinch close elections this November and beyond.

At its annual spring meeting in Memphis, the Republican National Committee formally launched a grassroots field program called Victory 365, which is designed to enable Republican campaigns to better use voter data across their efforts.

Victory 365–V365 for short–has several components, including:

  • the creation of a single data file called OneData, which has information on 190 million active voters. The RNC plans to make that file available to Republican campaigns for free.
  • the development of two mobile apps for canvassers to use in the field. The apps that can immediately send information back to the campaign offices after canvassers speak to voters.
  • the implementation of predictive analytics to forecast voter behavior.

“Let’s be honest: This is community organizing,” RNC chief of staff Mike Shields told reporters.

Republicans are playing catch-up to Democrats who have used big data to get out the vote and bring voters to the polls in the 2008 and 2012 elections.

“Really, what that is, is us beating the Democrats at their own game,” said Shields. “We’ve taken some giant strides toward being able to do that.”

The RNC said that it has already successfully used some of the components of V365. The GOP used predictive analytics to help Rep. David Jolly, R-Florida, win the special election in March against Democratic nominee Alex Sink.

Unlike previous ground operations, the RNC plans to keep V365 operational long after November. It is intended to be a permanent grassroots operation.