Targeting Voters

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Micro-Targeting
The latest trend of campaigning, especially in America, is ‘micro-targeting’. How does it work? American parties appear to have access to the electoral roll and to be able to collect information from customer databases (bonus cards, newspaper subscriptions, etc.). The data from the electoral roll is ‘enriched’ with this data. Individuals can then be contacted in telephone surveys (or home visits), and asked to verify the information. Direct and targeted personal actions (home visits, telephone calls, e-mail campaigns) may sometimes be crucial to winning or losing a seat, if the margin is by a few votes. Currently, the two major parties in the USA are working to build huge databases of people and infrastructures, a task that consumes huge amounts of time, energy and finances. In Europe, micro-targeting will not succeed so quickly. Not only because of the smaller budgets, but also because of the more stringent privacy rules. Nevertheless, in Europe, also, the dialogic web will become more important for parties and it is increasingly important to know the needs and concerns of the voters.

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