Exclusive: RNC Launches New Data-Driven Field Operation

Exclusive: RNC Launches New Data-Driven Field Operation

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is launching a sophisticated new data program called “Victory 365” to link 200 full-time field staffers with reams of voter statistics. The effort is modeled after President Obama’s successful use of analytics to help drive election-day turnout.

The party org will be rolling out the new plan at its spring meetings in Memphis, Tennessee, and was announced late Tuesday exclusively at Breitbart News.

The RNC’s plan focuses first on “better data” by investing millions of dollars in its “ONEData” program.

Secondly, it will include new tools like smartphone applications in certain targeted states designed to help voter canvassing by volunteers knocking on doors in battleground states, along with new “query tools” called the “GOP Data Center” and “Beacon” to all 50 states and U.S. territories. The RNC says these tools will help candidates and committees develop analytics-based campaign plans.

The third plank is what the RNC calls “predictive analytics,” which officials say use “data science” to predict voter behavior.

The RNC used predictive analytics in the recent special election to succeed deceased Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), where David Jolly beat Democrat Alex Sink. Officials say the RNC analytics program accurately predicted the election results down to within less than 500 votes. That program can be a useful tool for Republican candidates’ campaigns looking to map out strategies weeks, months, or days ahead of an election while making the tough decisions to determine where to target often scarce campaign resources.

The fourth plank, which fits in with the third, is a user interface tool for campaigns called “Control Panel” and aims to help campaigns be able “to help inform decision making.”

To coincide with the release of this new technology, the RNC has launched a full-time field staff nationwide–something it calls a “permanent ground game.” For the 2014 election cycle, there will be just under 200 field staffers for the RNC in 22 separate states–something the organization said it plans to expand upon in future years. The group noted that 91 percent of its staff are permanently in the field, not based in Washington, D.C.

The RNC is moving to what it calls a “precinct-based grassroots organizing structure” where those key staffers work alongside campaigns and help train up volunteers in the states who want to help. The party already has 14,000 such grassroots “precinct captains.” Such grassroots activists will work with the aforementioned technology–like the smartphone apps–to knock on doors and get information from voters that is fed in near-real-time back up the chain into the RNC’s big data centers, where it is updated frequently.

Voters in those 22 states nationwide will soon be getting door knocks from GOP volunteers–and other states in the future–asking them questions about what they think about politics, relevant candidates, and issues that matter to them. The phone apps of the volunteers knocking on doors will be equipped with what the RNC calls “dynamic scripting”–which means the next questions asked after first answers are taken in are actually based off the answers. 

The goal, the party says, is to create a more personal line of questioning. Often times, party officials say, volunteers will hold up their smartphones for voters to read the questions off so they feel like they’re a part of the party’s direction. In response to their answers, the RNC and specific campaigns will use that updated data to target specific voters with information–emails, direct mail, and more–aimed at what they are most interested in. If one voter is most interested in healthcare policy, they’ll hear about the GOP’s anti-Obamacare efforts and candidates’ stances on the issue. If another is really into education policy, they’ll get detailed mailers about education. And so on.

“This is the launch of a permanent year round ground game, that will ensure the Republican Party will be competitive for years to come,” RNC spokesman Raffi Williams said in an email. “But our efforts to put our country back on the right track will not be successful without volunteers working hard to ensure that Americans across the country hear the truth about what the GOP stands for and the failure of the Democrats’ progressive policies.”

This all comes as the RNC is launching a couple new initiatives aimed at attracting new voters. Its “14 in 14” program aims to speak to young women under 40 in targeted districts in a manner as precinct captains would, and its “Campus Captains” program seeks out specific organizers in much the same way on college campuses across the country rather than keeping the College Republicans in Washington the focus of that.

Along with the new Victory 365 launch, three new videos are coming out aimed helping with recruitment for volunteers and activists.


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