Voter Analytics with Brittany Kaiser CW 51- transcript


John Tsarpalas: Eight weeks ago, in Commonwealthy #42, we did Get Out the Vote for a Political Campaign. And for the most part in the last eight weeks, we’ve focused on different portions of Get Out the Vote- what that means, how you do it, specific people you need to recruit as volunteers, train, etc.

Quite frankly, from the very beginning of Commonwealthy, we have started talking about volunteers and phone banks and phone systems and data systems. And it was all building for Get Out the Vote. And now that we are on Commonwealthy #51 today, we are changing the subject.

I wanted to start with Get Out the Vote and how important all that is, and that is essential to winning. I wanted people to understand that first. But today we are going to make a radical departure from all that because you’ve got that information. Go listen to those first fifty podcast. That will get any basic campaign up to speed and will give you the strategy to win. And that’s voter ID and Get Out the Vote.

But today we are going to jump to a whole new topic. Tina and I met with a woman named Brittany Kaiser. And Brittany is director of program development at Cambridge Analytica. This firm uses voter information, data, and algorithms to target voters in a election campaign.

This is very new technology, very sophisticated, and cutting edge. Quite frankly, it’s the new secret weapon. Obama in his election campaign in 2012 with the help of Google used these techniques. I hope we are going to eclipse what Google did for him and move beyond.

A couple of warnings- first of all, this was recorded sitting in a café and it was just a mobile recorder sitting on the table. There’s quite a bit of background noise, although I think you can easily hear everybody and understand what’s being said.

Number two, there is a specific political race, so I have edited out names and anything that refers to that specific race and that campaign. Why? Quite frankly I don’t want the other side to know what I am up to in this area. They are going to get a general idea that somewhere in Illinois and it’s a Democrat district. In fact, keep that in mind.

This was a district that was purposely drawn by the Democrats who control Illinois to be plus eleven Democrat. In other words, eleven percent more vote for Democrats than a neutral area. This is a hard area to win. Quite frankly, it was much worse before 2012. It was a district that was even more Democrat. So it’s gotten a little better. There’s a longer term Democrat incumbent here and this is going to be a very difficult to race to beat this person.

However, with these new techniques, there is a possibility. So I wanted you to hear what Tina and I talk about with people, strategy here, and what these systems do. And they are amazing. I am not going to describe them now, but it is worth hearing.

And we are going to have a little bit of break in the middle. Why? Because the café closed and we had to leave. So we moved to my car to finish the conversation. And again this get chopped up a bit because I don’t want anyone to understand who we are talking about and where are talking about.

So this may take a few jumps, but I think it is really worth listening to. It is extremely interesting to me as a political strategist. And I think it’s important that you start to understand how we think so that you can be successful in your campaign.

Of course there will information on how to get a hold of Cambridge Analytica in our show notes on our website at And we’ll talk more about that at the end of the podcast. Perhaps you want to hire this firm, because they can do some amazing things.

Anyway, I hope you find this interesting. I know I sure I did. It was one of the best conversations I’ve had this year. And one that made me hopeful that this district possibly can bring home a win. So here we are, Commonwealthy #51, Voter Analytics.

Brittany Kaiser: We are a global elections company.

Kristina Keats: Wow, how exciting!

Brittany Kaiser: We probably won more races for head of states over prime minister or president every year, more than any other political firm.

Kristina Keats: Really?

Brittany Kaiser: So.

Kristina Keats: Do you work both sides of the aisle?

Brittany Kaiser: No, we only work for the Republicans in the United States.

John Tsarpalas: Cool.

Kristina Keats: And the Tories in Britain?

Brittany Kaiser: Well, actually right now we are working on the Bracksieck campaign, so we are working with all three of the main parties.

Kristina Keats: Oh, that’s about leaving the EU.

Brittany Kaiser: Or staying in.

Kristina Keats: Right.

Brittany Kaiser: Which everyone will decide on the 23rd of June this coming year.

Kristina Keats: Wow, I am impressed. That’s exciting.

Brittany Kaiser: It’s a very exciting campaign because it has forced the British government to run their third ever national referendum. So the Scottish referendum is only for Scottish people to vote. So this is only the second one in this decade. The last one was in the seventies.

So it is very interesting to see the way the U.K. goes about building up momentum for a nationwide referendum. And polling was really going sort of between 51 and 49. It’s balancing back and forth.

Kristina Keats: So what do you do specifically in terms of you are doing data-driven behavior change? Explain what that means.

Brittany Kaiser: Of course. So a little more background of company. So Cambridge Analytica is part of a group called the SCL Group (Strategic Communications Laboratories). We’ve been around for the past thirty years as experts in behavioral change communications.

So we actually started in the late eighties as a not-for-profit academic institute, a consortium of over sixty of the world’s top universities learning how you can understand people’s psychology through large research and data analysis, and then use that to inform communications so that you know so much about the audience you are communicating to that you can craft your creative pieces and your communications in order to measure and change the behavior of the group that you are communicating to.

This was most often actually used in defense. We work for the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies in counter-terrorism operations with this exact same similar methodology.

And now we decided to start building up a database to work in politics. We started looking at it around 2010. And we established in 2013 a data-driven operation in this country to start building up the most comprehensive database on individuals in the United States.

So we started building a database and started with the normal sort of L2 or local voter file. We started with the Experian credit file and built on top of that consumer data: Axiom, info grouped by purchasing and/or licensing depending on what kind of agreements we have with everybody, all available consumer data, lifestyle data, and on top of that, all political and voting history that we have access, all voter files. Also large scale research that we have done on social media as well as our own super samples.

Kristina Keats: What’s a super sample?

Brittany Kaiser: Okay, so that means we would take a representative sample on every single state in the country by asking people questions via large telephone interviews, IVR’s, online panels, and face-to-face focus groups. We would ask them questions that probe the psychology behind what issues they are interested in and what candidates they are interested in.

Kristina Keats: And you are connecting that to all their data that you have (voting data, consumer purchases, lifestyle choices, etc.)?

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly. And so that gives us a database of up to five thousand data points on most people above the age of eighteen in this country.

John Tsarpalas: Five thousand data points?

Kristina Keats: On every individual?

Brittany Kaiser: Over two hundred forty million people.

Kristina Keats: Wow!

John Tsarpalas: That’s phenomenal!

Kristina Keats: And you have that already? Okay, so now, just to simplify it for a political person, so you have let’s say a congressional race that you are working on. How would you help them find what issues to talk about and how to talk about them?

Brittany Kaiser: So we look very unlike any other political and communications firm. Our company is mostly PhD holding data scientist who build very complex data algorithms based on the data that we hold. So we have the most accurate models in the market on how people can predict turnout, political persuasion, issues that people care about.

So we are able to break up audiences quite differently than other people. We don’t just-

Kristina Keats: Is this like the same thing that Nate Silver does?

Brittany Kaiser: Nate Silver uses some of the wisdom behind turnout and political partisanship models that are more widely available. But the five types of models that we build that nobody else has access to are personality models. So the OCEAN scoring is that we’ve actually quantified the personality of every adult in the country.

Kristina Keats: So OCEAN scoring is openes, conscientiousness, extroversion (that is fascinating to me because I am a big Myers-Briggs person)-

Brittany Kaiser: Oh fantastic.

Kristina Keats: I think we could be best friends.

John Tsarpalas: I have a feeling I see Tina becoming a partner in this.

Kristina Keats: – agreeableness, and neuroticism. This is absolutely fascinating. You call that the OCEAN.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly.

Kristina Keats: So if you pulled me up, you would know how open I am to new ideas, right? How conscientious I am.

Brittany Kaiser: It means that you prefer plans and order over a bit more disorganized.

Kristina Keats: J versus P from the Myers-Briggs. But how do you know that?

John Tsarpalas: Yes! It’s one thing to-

Kristina Keats: It’s an algorithm. Can you tell- okay, just for an example, my buying habits, you notice that I buy the same things every, constantly purchasing the same things as opposed to changing my toilet paper brand?

Brittany Kaiser: I can tell you that plays into it. So we have actually done our own proprietary research where we’ve actually tested the personalities. You know, you’ve taken a Myers-Briggs personality test.

Kristina Keats: Right.

Brittany Kaiser: So it’s like a hundred and twenty question inventory that asks you questions, like “Do you get along well with children? Do you see yourself as the life of the party?” Things like that.

Kristina Keats: Right.

John Tsarpalas: And then you cross that against products, habits, or what they are reading, etc. Okay.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly.

John Tsarpalas: So like Subaru drivers are 98% Democrat.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly.

Kristina Keats: But more sophisticated than just the consumer choice.

Brittany Kaiser: But instead of a lot of professors that normally work the Myers-Briggs personality test, OCEAN scoring became the sort of top line in academia, political persuasion, consumer persuasion. OCEAN scoring is what everyone uses instead of Myers-Brigg, probably since the early nineties. But not just in academia.

Kristina Keats: Wow, I feel out of date.

Brittany Kaiser: Well, most people only know Myers-Briggs. It’s only recently that OCEAN scoring actually became incredibly popular. It has become what everybody is talking about in terms of how you would use it in data-driven marketing.

Kristina Keats: And it’s more predictive.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly.

Kristina Keats: Like if you know the OCEAN score of someone, and I can see why because you’ve added things like neurotocism and “do you often worry” because that will predict things. “Do you enjoy new experiences?”

Brittany Kaiser: Or “Are you more traditional?”

Kristina Keats: Right.

Brittany Kaiser: Which is someone who is less open.

Kristina Keats: Right. So interesting. Okay. So you have all this data. And then how do you work with a candidate? If a candidate has certain positions… My view is I do a lot of messaging. When I was running campaigns, I was pretty good at it. I worked with Frank Luntz.

Brittany Kaiser: Okay.

Kristina Keats: Yeah, I did some things that he thought was really fantastic. My view is you can take the same issue. You present it one way and you’ll get eighty percent agreement. You present it another way and you get twenty percent agreement.

Brittany Kaiser: Yes.

Kristina Keats: Okay, so that’s where you focus, where you try and help the candidates understand how to-

Brittany Kaiser: How to use differentiated creative around the same issues.

Kristina Keats: Right.

Brittany Kaiser: So what we normally do is we would look at an audience group. So let’s say we were talking about Illinois. We would look at the entire universe that you want to target, depending on your goals and the budget of the race. So say we are only going to look at people who are at least forty percent likely to vote and people who at least swing right if we are looking at the Republican race.

Kristina Keats: Right.

Brittany Kaiser: Then we would take that audience and we would model them. And we would cluster them by their personalities. And so when we are talking about different issues to these people, we would say, “You are going to talk to the introverted neurotics about national security or about a local water issue. You are going to talk to the open-minded conscientious people about it this way.”

Kristina Keats: So you would literally send mail to the introverted neurotics with a message that is slightly different from the extroverted open-minded?

Brittany Kaiser: Mail, digital, campaign, and we also do TV targeting. We’ve also bought a license that targets…

Kristina Keats: How can you target TV when you are going to a general audience.

John Tsarpalas: Cable.

Kristina Keats: But even cable, everybody in a cable segment isn’t an introverted neurotic.

Brittany Kaiser: Yeah, well we can do programmatic and addressable TV. We purchased set-top box data. So companies like TiVo are able to tell you exactly when someone logs in, what they are recording, what they fast forward through. So we can give our candidates advise on what TV spots they are meant to buy based on how many people in a target audience are going to be watching during that program.

Kristina Keats: Wow!

John Tsarpalas: Isn’t that amazing?

Kristina Keats: Using DVR. So anybody who has cable, you can target the message. Well then of course the computer.

Brittany Kaiser: Digital is the most addressable format, of course.

Kristina Keats: Right. I know because I watch them do it to me. I am going, “How did you know I would want that?” But obviously… This is so exciting. And you are helping with this.

John Tsarpalas: That’s what we are here to talk about.

Brittany Kaiser: That’s what we are here to talk about actually.

Kristina Keats: Okay.

John Tsarpalas: Our favorite.

Brittany Kaiser: Right.

Kristina Keats: Is it even-

John Tsarpalas: It’s a long shot. It’s a plus eleven Democrat district, which is not undoable. She does have money.

Kristina Keats: That’s not out of the range of possibility. Is she a good candidate?

John Tsarpalas: Yeah.

Kristina Keats: Wow, okay.

John Tsarpalas: So it’s possible.

Kristina Keats: Then how expensive is this per twenty thousand voters or whatever? Because you take the voters and then you do all this data.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly. So obviously when we are doing psychographic targeting and we license data, you can either purchase that per record or like per thousand CPM, which we have varying levels depending on how much data you actually want from it. You may already be using a voter file; you might not need everything from us.

Or we can actually run digital campaigns in house and then you don’t even pay to license the data. We just take a thirteen percent digital program management fee. We run the digital ourselves.

Kristina Keats: That seems totally reasonable.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly.

Kristina Keats: Why would anybody do it themselves?

John Tsarpalas: Especially since I don’t really know much how to do it myself.

Brittany Kaiser: We are running hundreds of races all over the country from Senator Cruz-

Kristina Keats: Yay! Sorry.

Brittany Kaiser: Yeah, I know. He’s Houston born.

Kristina Keats: I’m just saying, I hope Ted Cruz knows you.

Brittany Kaiser: I have a picture of me and Senator Cruz actually.

Kristina Keats: You know, because I am Texas, we met him early in the primary process. I had issues with him early.

John Tsarpalas: I am going to edit all this out. So don’t worry, this isn’t going to get broadcast. Do you know Jeff Row, his campaign manager?

Brittany Kaiser: Yeah, I’ve met him before, but he mostly works with my colleagues that are all in the Cruz firewall. I don’t actively work on the campaign. Oh, yeah, we’ve been working for Senator Cruz for eighteen months.

John Tsarpalas: Cool.

Brittany Kaiser: He came to us in 2014.

Kristina Keats: I am so excited. I know he is brilliant, but as a person who runs campaigns, this just impresses me up the ying-yang.

Brittany Kaiser: And he takes an active involvement in this. He always wants to know exactly what’s going on, how we are breaking people up, how we are talking to people. Well, I spoke at CPAC last week just before Senator Cruz.

Kristina Keats: So does CPAC know that Cruz is using you? If you use Cruz, does that mean you can’t use Trump and you can’t the other guys?

Brittany Kaiser: No, actually we’ve set up a fire-walling system because we are also running Dr. Carson’s campaign.

Kristina Keats: Oh, okay.

Brittany Kaiser: So we do both. Obviously now we are just with Senator Cruz. And we will support whoever is the nominee because right now we are seen as the best Republican data analytics firm.

Kristina Keats: Do you think that if someone other than Cruz wins that they will use you? Trump is the only other possibility.

Brittany Kaiser: Well, we were negotiating with him until he saw Cruz as his main rival. And then I think it got a little contentious. But again, so far he’s been running a campaign that runs on fumes. He’s had all of his free-earned media and he doesn’t actually pay for infrastructure.

John Tsarpalas: He has no conventional campaign infrastructure. He has no field operations, etc.

Kristina Keats: Yeah, it’s one the weapons that people can use against him. Well, that is just so wonderful. I am so excited.

Brittany Kaiser: I mean, we’ve been showing wonderful results. Obviously the things that we’ve doing for Senator Cruz have shown results that everybody can attest to.

Kristina Keats: So you were behind Iowa?

Brittany Kaiser: Yup.

Kristina Keats: And all of the victories.

Brittany Kaiser: Yup, I think we have two hundred articles that came out about us after Iowa, specifically attributing the sophisticated, long term, data-driven operation that we had put together to how much that had helped us identify where Senator Cruz’s messages were going to resonate with people. And it was by using complex modeling on a local level to understand exactly what people cared about and how we needed to talk to them.

Kristina Keats: Yup, how they needed to receive it.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly.

Kristina Keats: So one of my questions is I know that Google ran the data for the Democrats for Obama.

Brittany Kaiser: Right.

Kristina Keats: Are you as good as they are?

Brittany Kaiser: Well, we do more than they do actually because they obviously have complex algorithms that will predict turnout and partisanship. But they are not actively going out and doing the amount of research that we are doing, nor running big nationwide campaigns. So on a monthly basis, pollsters are talking to hundreds or thousands of people.

John Tsarpalas: You are full time at this? This is a sideline for them.

Brittany Kaiser: Yeah, we do up to ninety thousand surveys per month, talking to people about the candidates they care about and the issues they care about and probing their psychology around why they care about those issues or candidates.

We’ve now surveyed millions of people in the United States on their psychology, which nobody else has ever done. The top professionals in the industry, even in corporate marketing psychology, have not tested millions of people in this country about what they care about. So for us, this such a high barrier to entry to what we are doing that nobody else is kind scraping the surfacing.

Kristina Keats: And obviously when the elections are finished, all this analysis that you’ve done for political purposes could easily be translated into marketing other products.

Brittany Kaiser: Oh, we’ve already started working in the corporate space. And they approach us. They say, “We see what you are doing for Senator Cruz. You have all of this data.” Especially organizations that would benefit from the issues that conservatives care about.

Kristina Keats: Right. It translates into products, too.

Brittany Kaiser: We know so much about what people think about energy and gun rights.

Kristina Keats: But you can translate it into the cheese that they buy.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly.

Kristina Keats: This is unbelievably exciting.

John Tsarpalas: So let’s take this down to like reality of dollars. I mean, there’s four hundred thousand people, two hundred fifty thousand households. Where do we even start? What does it cost? What are some of the minimal places to start?

Brittany Kaiser: I think the easiest thing that I would actually suggest would be to ask if anyone is actually running a digital campaign for the district. Because right now instead of actually licensing data and saying, “Here you go. We’ll help you figure out what this mean,” a lot of times we like to be a little more hands on and really help with the campaign.

So when run digital, just taking a percentage of the media buy, there are no other costs besides a thirteen percent if we are going to run the digital campaign on your behalf. And we’ll just work with you on the messaging, the issues that we are going to talk about, and the campaign slogans. It is actually two percent if you want us to do the creative. Or we work with advertising agency and a print shop that you are already working with.

Kristina Keats: So if someone had a two hundred thousand budget for mail, digital, phone, everything-

Brittany Kaiser: And if they spend a minimum of twenty thousand dollars, so that’s what? Twenty-six hundred dollars that goes to us than we will run the digital campaign.

John Tsarpalas: For that little amount?

Brittany Kaiser: Yeah.

John Tsarpalas: That’s amazing.

Kristina Keats: I’m thinking you had to have twenty thousand to do. That’s because you own the data. It’s a fixed cost.

Brittany Kaiser: Yup. Because we are working very closely with RNC, we want to make this accessible to races of all sizes. So the best way for us to do that is to actually keep our data internal. So instead of selling you lists where the FCC makes everybody pay a specific amount if you are going to possess that data, then we can run the digital campaign just in coordination. That way you don’t have to pay to possess the CSV file, which the FCC will see that we’ve made that transfer and they’ll say, “Okay, how much were you paid for it?

So that CPM fluctuates depending on how much data you want. I don’t know if there is already a working voter file that you are working with.

John Tsarpalas: We are just working off Data Trust.

Brittany Kaiser: Oh, yeah, of course.

John Tsarpalas: That’s what we are working on.

Brittany Kaiser: Perfect.

John Tsarpalas: Because that what I came for.

Brittany Kaiser: I would love to know a little bit more about the infrastructure that’s in place right now so that I can understand all the bits and pieces and possibly offer. Because obviously that’s the digital campaign, but obviously if you are going to be doing direct mail as well (obviously most people do), then we can inform all of the creative for that. We can either do the full post-production pieces.

John Tsarpalas: I just want to look at an e-campaign and you’ll put something together. I can probably get away with a twenty thousand dollar minimum investment. It sounds very doable for this campaign.

And we are talking about the general. We don’t have a primary. There is no fight. I actually took everybody out in petition challenges. We took out the few challengers, which you can do in Illinois and I am good at.

Kristina Keats: Let me ask. Why do you only want to do an e-campaign? I think it would make sense to have them do the mail, too, to do everything.

Brittany Kaiser: Well, we’ll give you all the options.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah. What happens with NRCC coming in the mail? Won’t they kind of take it over?

Brittany Kaiser: It all depends.

John Tsarpalas: If it is challenged. I don’t know if we are get that far.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly. I was going to say if they pick up.

Kristina Keats: Realistically-

John Tsarpalas: They are not coming.

Kristina Keats: Right. I just think-

John Tsarpalas: Well, it’s challenged.

Kristina Keats: This is my personal view strategically. I wouldn’t separate it. I would want the same message to go by mail and by whatever. Even though the eighty year old lady might get the mail, it also might be appropriate for the twenty-two year old get mail too sometimes.

John Tsarpalas: Right. Well, here’s my fear: how much do I have to work with? We haven’t finished the budget. I don’t know how much she is going to be able to raise. I mean, she knows some well healed people. That’s fine. We are doing okay money-wise. But you know…

Kristina Keats: Well, they are going to take a percentage of the advertising budget.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Kristina Keats: It’s a small percentage to have them handle the whole thing.

John Tsarpalas: But here’s what I am thinking: Mail has mailing costs. It’s expensive to mail versus e for the cost.

Kristina Keats: Right. But still whatever you mail, you want it to be consistent. You’ve got the data. You’ve got a resource for fifteen percent of the production costs of the advertising. They are going to get the right message.

Okay, so you need the right message. Otherwise you are going to have an e-message that will be extremely sophisticated and targeted to the individual psychology of the voter, and then turn around and just have Curtis Scott, who is fabulous, design mail. But they can design it so it gets targeted in the right way. And they can pull out the data and say, “Okay, we are going to mail these pieces to these people.”

I think that digital is fabulous for the specific targeting, but so is mail. You know who you are sending it to. You know what to say to them. I actually think that to have do the whole thing is even more effective on a small budget than on a big one. Because if you have a big budget, you can put a lot of stuff out there. But when you have a small budget, you can’t afford to-

John Tsarpalas: You need every dollar to count.

Kristina Keats: Every dollar. So you are paying fifteen percent of the production costs? But you are getting it to John Tsarpalas who will be persuaded by this argument.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Kristina Keats: I would do the whole thing.

John Tsarpalas: Okay.

Kristina Keats: That’s my personal bias.

John Tsarpalas: I don’t disagree with you, but I am just worried about how much money do we really have total.

Kristina Keats: But you may not have enough money to do any mail and it all has to be digital and robo-calls and whatever. It doesn’t matter.

John Tsarpalas: I am kind of thinking this is a digital and door knocking campaign because volunteers-

Kristina Keats: Even door knocking.

John Tsarpalas: But if you know what to knock with- yeah, you are right! You are right, Tina.

Kristina Keats: If I am hooked up with them, this is how you door knock. Everybody has a smart phone.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, you are right. And you know what to ask.

Kristina Keats: You know how to talk about each of the issues before you go the door. And you know not to go to that door. You go to this one and this one and this one.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, you are right.

Kristina Keats: This is what you say. I would have the whole thing because I am just assuming, but anybody who is running a smart campaign today has their smart phones connected to their data, right?

Brittany Kaiser: Yup, exactly.

Kristina Keats: So I rest my case. That’s how I would do it. I would do the whole thing. And I would even work with them to figure out how much you should spend. Because they will have the database on the people. They should be able to look at it and they’ll say, “Okay, these five thousand people you have to get to by mail. These ones we can get to by whatever- phone, laptop or whatever.”

And they should be able to tell you how much you are going to have to spend to effectively get to them. And if I were a donor and you walk in with that kind of a media plan, I’d be blown away.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah.

Kristina Keats: And here’s the other thing that you have to show. Now obviously the thing that you can’t anticipate is who is going to be at the top of the ticket, okay? Pretty much for an Illinois district, I am going to tell you-

John Tsarpalas: Either Trump or Cruz is bad.

Kristina Keats: They are both bad.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Kristina Keats: They are both bad for Illinois.

John Tsarpalas: Right, I agree.

Kristina Keats: Probably.

John Tsarpalas: Well, downstate they are fine, but I am in an urban area and this is a liberal district.

Kristina Keats: Right. So probably Trump is better, but you don’t know what is going to happen

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, you are right.

Kristina Keats: But you can’t run it like that. You have to identify your voters based on what you can. Now strategically, this is all going to be cut out.

Brittany Kaiser: We can even start with that. A lot of people we start with a couple days of data scientists actually just analyzing the data.

Kristina Keats: Right.

John Tsarpalas: And what’s realistic.

Brittany Kaiser: And then we can look at all the numbers and we can tell you, you know, “These are the people that you are going to want to talk to. These are the people that you could talk to if you have a big enough budget. And these are the people don’t waste your time with.”

Kristina Keats: Right.

Brittany Kaiser: And then you can see what is possible there.

Kristina Keats: And if don’t waste your time is twice the size of could and should then it is lost. I mean, it is so much more sophisticated. I used to do a thing that I did my high-low analysis. All you had was past voting history, which in this year-

Brittany Kaiser: It might not mean anything.

John Tsarpalas: It’s irrelevant, yeah. Who knows with Trump.

Kristina Keats: It might not mean as much as it has.

John Tsarpalas: I think people are coming out that aren’t-

Kristina Keats: We would be able to say if under the perfect circumstances, given presidential turnout, etc., what the probability. I would be able to tell you whether the race was winnable at all and how winnable was it, highly winnable or not so winnable. But you’ve got more sophisticated that this election year will be even more valuable.

So my view would be raise the money to get them to the analysis and then do the media plan. Because if you the analysis and say, “Okay, yeah, the voters are there, but it will cost this much to persuade them.” Then you’ve got a tool to go to donors with.

Brittany Kaiser: It’s true.

John Tsarpalas: Perfect. Can you do that?

Brittany Kaiser: Yeah, of course.

Kristina Keats: They are going to come. You’ve got to be able to look at it because, as you know, you do all your analysis and everything, but there are still things that can happen in a local culture that you might not pick up on that the people who live here will.

Brittany Kaiser: Exactly. That’s why it is important for us to coordinate on all of the details.

Kristina Keats: Right. But I would have them do the analysis. Take that district. Is it possible. How much will it cost? Because it might be possible, but it takes ten million.

Brittany Kaiser: Oh, gosh.

John Tsarpalas: Well, that’s possible. I mean, it took Rauner twenty million to win Illinois?

Kristina Keats: Yeah, but that’s the whole state.

John Tsarpalas: Okay.

Kristina Keats: It’s not going to be that much because you have how many voters in the congressional district?

John Tsarpalas: Four hundred thousand.

Kristina Keats: Okay, four hundred thousand total and that means three hundred thousand are going to vote?

John Tsarpalas: Yeah.

Kristina Keats: Okay, so that’s about a hundred and eighty thousand households, something like that?

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Kristina Keats: So it’s not going to be ten million. But they’ll be able to tell you. And then you start right now door to door! Meanwhile, they’ve got the analysis and you get your intern program going for the summer and you are making the phone calls.

Brittany Kaiser: Definitely.

Kristina Keats: And recruiting the volunteers and you get there. I wouldn’t start doing any of the advertising because this is from a strategic point of view. The way I look at it is all of the Internet, phone, mail, TV, etc., that’s like an air campaign, right? Easy to see. Door to door is hand-to-hand combat. You can be winning door to door and they don’t even know it.

Brittany Kaiser: Yeah, exactly.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Kristina Keats: And they don’t find out.

Brittany Kaiser: That’s how we won Iowa.

Kristina Keats: Right, so you go door to door now. Now, as in yesterday! But target which doors to go. Get that data together and in two weeks start your door to door plan. And then by the time September, you start your air plan or August.

John Tsarpalas: Well, I hope that gave you some idea of how analytics is changing campaigning and some possibilities on how it can help you and your campaign. I think one of the problems is it is upping the cost for a campaign. But it has always been the candidate’s problem to raise the money.

I think it could possibly provide an edge, although it tends to be one cycle one side gets better at it than the other and the next cycle, the other side gets better at it than the other. It’s almost like the old Cold War. One side would have so many missiles and so many bombs. And then the other side would build more missiles and more bombs. And it would go back and forth. I think it’s a lot like that.

But it is going to be here. It’s not going away. It’s only going to grow more. There’s going to be more and more data analysis and ways and tools to use that. And in many ways, it’s a bit big brother-y and that’s kind of scary too, especially being a conservative libertarian. That’s not something I want. I don’t want that power to be in the hands of government, that’s for sure. And I actually hope it can be in the hands of multiple campaigns and multiple people. But time will tell.

And we are going to have to keep adapting and keep on fighting and see where it all leads. As always, we will have show notes and a transcript of today’s podcast at If you’ve got questions, you can reach me at I am happy to answer your email questions.

And if you need more help with your campaign, I am a candidate coach. What makes me different than a consultant? Well, I help you to formulate your plans. I can review your plans for you. I can help you with public speaking, fundraising, and Get Out the Vote. I coach you.

And then I hold candidates accountable if they’d like that type of coaching. Many candidates will call me once a week or every other week and report in how many donors they’ve talked to, how many phone calls their volunteers made, and how many doors they knocked. Literally, I hold them accountable. They explain where they are having trouble and difficulty. I help them get through that and I keep them on track to their winning campaign plan, which I can help you formulate.

My first half hour of consultation is free. Often it runs a little longer than that. I don’t mind. I’ll let you know how I can help if you want to use my coaching beyond that point. But it is really helpful to most people to talk to me because I come up with some ideas and get them on track in their first half hour.

So feel free to reach out to me at Please tell your friends about us. Let other activists and candidates know that we exist. Thanks for listening!

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