Parties Turn to 'Micro-Targeting' to Get Votes

By: Alexis Christoforous
By: Alexis Christoforous

Washington, DC - They want your vote and they know how to find you and sell their message. We're talking about political parties and the methods they use to make sure they place that message where you will see it. How do they do it?

Whether you hunt or snowmobile, drive a Lexus or a Chevy pickup, can say something about how you'll vote.

"I think it's ridiculous," says Christine Montero.

Maybe not. Politicians are spending millions to find out what makes you tick.

"They have to find ways to get targeted groups of voters to the polls," Political Consultant Joseph Mercurio says.

It's called micro-targeting, the buying and crunching of personal data, it suggests where we live, how much we earn, even the magazines we read and TV shows we watch determine how we'll vote.

Sounds like stereotyping," says one man.

But that's the point, it helps candidates decide where to place magazine and TV ads, and who to target with direct mailings and phone calls.

For example, Republicans tend to drink bourbon and watch college football, while Democrats prefer brandy and the theater.

Emily's list a political group targeting women democrats says it's an effective tool.

"Now we can actually drill down and find the needle in the haystack. Talk to those Democratic women who live in republican areas on the issues that matter to them," says Karen White, National Political Director for Emily's List.

Even your morning cup of coffee is figured into the equation. Starbucks Drinkers lean left, Dunkin Donuts more right.

It worked for president bush. Micro-targeting is credited with helping get him re-elected in 2004.

Democrats are playing catch up. Hillary Clinton is using the technique in her re-election bid.

And it's being used aggressively in the midterm election's battleground states.

While it's not an exact science, in a tight race, just a few votes could make all the difference.


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