Predictive Analytics at Planned Parenthood
The Nation reports, in a March 7, 2012 piece titled “The Genius of Cecile Richards,” that
Planned Parenthood, at Richards’s direction, collaborated with Catalist, a national progressive voter file, to build the country’s first model of support for choice. Thanks to this tool, every woman voter in the country has a score between one and 100 indicating her likelihood to be pro-choice, and there is a way to reach her. It’s an efficient way to mobilize pro-choice women to vote or even persuade them to canvass for Planned Parenthood–endorsed candidates.
Cecile Richards is Planned Parenthood’s President, who took the job in 2006, already an experienced political activist and former deputy chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi.
This story is not unique. Very few candidate or issue campaigns have the expertise or resources to perform analytics independently. But there is an industry of political consultants who have the knowledge, and because they support many clients, collective buying power extends access to a wide range of campaigns. These service providers specialize, focusing on a single party, or positioning themselves for either progressive or conservative issue politics.
Political consultants draw on many resources to develop their lists and models. Make no mistake, we’re all included. Unless you live way off the grid, many, many political campaigns know you exist, and they are making a serious effort to assess how much or little you sympathize with their cause.
Read “The Genius of Cecile Richards.” It puts a load of context around the use of predictive modeling in politics.
Date: March 9, 2012