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December 21, 2015

Tips and warnings about using a partisan data provider

Originally Published July 7, 2015; Updated December 21, 2015

National and state party organizations along with like-minded companies have been collecting, storing and giving their data to approved candidates, PACs and other groups for years. These organizations collect the voter file, add data from candidates, PACs and other politically friendly groups and then turn it over to approved candidates and organizations. Despite the appeal of this low cost supposedly high quality data candidates, PACs and other organizations that have formally worked with the parties or party organizations have been coming to L2 in search of the highest quality data.

Below are some tips and warnings about using a voter file and enhancements from a party or party related data operation.

Check on the freshness of any providers voter file and phone numbers.

The focus from party organizations is on enhancements, sometimes putting the quality of the original file second. At L2 we bring the files from all 50 states and DC and put each of those files through scores of human and automated checks. The last check is performed by our CEO, who personally signs off on each file before it’s available through our office or L2 DataMapping. After each file is thoroughly scrubbed enhancements from trusted third party providers are added to give our clients both a high quality and rich file.

Determine if you can rely on the quality of the provider’s enhancements and modeling.

You may have the highest standards for your campaign’s data collection efforts but does every other campaign? When the focus of your data provider is to turnaround as much information as possible without a focus on quality, not to mention starting with dirty voter file, you will be second guessing every data driven decision you make. L2 brings in only the most reliable third party data and ensures that our data is consistently formatted. Consistency is critical especially if your organization or company wants to onboard voter data for digital outreach or analysis.

Read the fine print about turning over your private data back to the party or provider.

The most valuable data any campaign can use is high quality, consistently formatted data brought in by campaign staff and volunteers. Private file data loses it’s value when it can be given away to a primary opponent or put into a central database for the world to see. Party organizations and their subsidiaries will sell or give data to your campaigns for little or no cost, in return these organizations request or in some cases require that you turn your campaign’s collected data back to the party.

Once you have turned over your private contributor list, your private contact list and your private survey data back to these data clearing houses, they can turn that data over to your future primary opponent or other rival organizations.

L2 has never and will never require or even ask that your data be put into our system. We both respect the work you do to build a robust private file while also only relying on those sources from which we receive the highest quality data.

See a sample file that includes data and enhancements from the other party.

Having data on those voters within your own party is critical but in many states where the opposition party or unaffiliated voters outnumber members of your own party the data from a partisan organization isn’t going to be as robust. In order to effectively reach those potential crossover voters any organization should include high quality consistent data on all voters.

L2 is non-partisan and delivers high quality consistent voter, consumer, issue, contribution and other data to our clients.

Determine if the party or partisan shop has already chosen sides in your primary.

Earlier this year stories came out about campaigns being denied or charged massive amounts of money for data from the parties or third party supported data providers. The first story is about now L2 client Alex Law challenging incumbent Rep. Donald Norcross:

“Alex Law, a 24-year-old challenging the well-connected freshman congressman, had sought to get voter data from the provider NGP VAN – something virtually all Democratic campaigns use.

According to Law, he would have paid $2,600 to get it from the state party. Instead, he said, he’ll have to go to the company itself and pay $7,000 for it.”

The second story is about Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump:

“The Koch brothers are freezing out Donald Trump from their influential political operation (i360) — denying him access to their state-of-the-art data…While it appears increasingly unlikely that it will officially endorse a GOP primary candidate, it has nonetheless shaped the process by determining which candidates are granted access to i360’s data and the grass-roots activists convened regularly by groups including AFP and Concerned Veterans for America.”

A few days after the protracted battle between the RNC, Trump and i360 the campaign was given access to the RNC (not the i360) voter file.

L2 is America’s leading voter data provider giving campaigns, PACs, consultants, political tech firms and others the highest quality data. If you want to keep your private file data in your hands and to pair it with the highest quality voter data, enhancements and technology please contact paul.westcott@L2political.com today.

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