Cold Spark Media and Magellan Strategies have partnered to offer a new product they believe will help the GOP close the data-gap with Democrats. Using data modeling, the firms say they can now tell candidates — its price point is congressional or Senate campaigns — the likelihood someone will vote Democratic or Republican when they get into the ballot booth.
"It's kind of like a Nate Silver approach," David Flaherty, the founder of Magellan, a Colorado-based polling firm, said in reference to the statistician-turned-election prognosticator. "It's really more of a forecast than a one-time survey."
Custom data modeling is not something currently available to candidates on the right via Voter Vault, the data bank the RNC gives candidates access and encouragement to use after they're through the primary. "In the whole Republican community, there's not a lot of places to go," said Flaherty, who previously worked on redistricting technology for the Republican National Committee.
Traditionally, Republicans have tended to gather their voter data in August and be out targeting in September with a static frame of the electorate, said Flaherty, who developed the product with Mark Harris of Cold Spark. "Voter Vault has never been updated on a regular basis by the RNC or Data Trust. And fresh, new data is always preferred."
Superior data and targeting services are on the wish list of a growing number of Republican candidates after watching the effectiveness of the Democrats' online apparatus in the 2012 cycle. President Obama's campaign was able to shift its modeling based on an updating of its data through polling and voter contact. Flaherty says that's what Magellan and Cold Spark are aiming for. "The Republicans need to catch up," he said. "What we're trying to do is replicate what the Obama campaign did."
Their product is called Voter Core Score and uses data variables — national voter file information together with the firms' five years of modeling and over 900,000 voter interviews — to assign a score for each individual voter. The voters' “core score” predicts how likely they are to vote Democratic or Republican.
"It'll help place a lot more lead on the target," Flaherty said.