Obama Machine Knows What You Want

'Extraordinarily professional' data-mining operation enables focus on voters
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2008 10:21 AM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., bottom center, shakes hands with supporters at the National Council of La Raza Convention in San Diego, Calif., Sunday, July 13, 2008. The...   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Although Barack Obama's campaign might have your email, you probably don’t know how much more data it's got on you, and how effectively it's using it to try to win in November. Salon looks into Obama’s incredible effort to glean powerful demographic information from voters—address, income, grocery store preference, and much, much more—to custom-tailor messages for a diverse electorate.

Information is compiled from what supporters volunteer, then combined with independent research and sophisticated marketing software. This complex approach allows the campaign to target a message about education, for instance, to a voter deemed statistically likely to have children. "It takes getting out the vote from the horse and buggy era to the space age," says one Democratic consultant.