Are vendor lists worth the expense against the inexpensive state or county data?
seth_o asked on Jul 12, 2013, 12:28 pm

My state offers the registered voter list of my district for very little (the cost of the dvd). However, I have had calls from data vendors who believe that I should spend money on their lists. How can they have anything different than the state ... doesn't it come from the state in the first place? I don't want to waste my resources on something that I can get for pennies.

Catalogued in "Lists and Targeting"
registered voter data, list vendor, state data, county data, resources, lists
Last Modified: Aug 15, 2013, 4:36 pm       Report this question
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corneo says on Jul 15, 2013, 1:12 pm:

The state gives you raw data. Vendors break it down so you can read it and understand it.
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amakaram says on Jul 16, 2013, 8:58 pm:

Search for the answer to the question "How do you get voter precinct lists" where both Corneo and I have commented on State versus Qualified Vendor lists. I think it is worth repeating some of the information here. You will realize that I am a big fan of using qualified, enhanced voter lists and here are some of the reasons why:

A quality vendor will enhance the list that is collected by the Board by running it through the US Postal Database, matching phones, adding census data, and consumer data such as income and home ownership. You will find that this information will cost more, but in the long run, you will save resources in the following ways:

1) many postal outlets are requiring that you provide a COA (certificate of authenticity - in other words, proof that the addresses are formatted correctly) with bulk mailing lists - issued within the last 90 days. There is a cost to have a mail house run this for you - check on this at your local postal outlet;

2) enhanced data provides a greater opportunity to target your mailing and phone lists by more than just Party. In addition, you can better group your district and deliver a message that will resonate with each target - in this way, you don't need to mail the whole district, only the target voters who will be most likely to be moved by your message;

3) Boards of Elections have stopped collecting phone numbers - in addition, some have removed the unverified numbers that they once had. An enhanced list has been run through a matching process to provide as many phone numbers as can be matched - some vendors also provide email matching, or at least offer that service;

These and other reasons, make a registered voter lists from a vendor an attractive investment. You can find a vendor by searching "registered voter lists" in Google or check out a vendor directory such as the Blue Ribbon Political Directory at www.winningcampaigns.org
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ce_stead says on Jul 18, 2013, 8:13 pm:

Seth - check with your political party. My party does exactly what is described above - phone numbers, emails, etc. - in a program called Voter Vault, and makes it availalbe to candidates for free - even in non-partisan elections.

Beyond accurate information, you want to look for voters who are 'Perfect Fours' - that is, they voted in both Primary and General elections for the last two election cycles. There are many REGISTERED voters - you want to be sure to reach out to HABITUAL voters.
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amakaram says on Jul 19, 2013, 3:03 pm:

Your political party is definitely a source for data, as is the state board. However the question was about value. The Republican's Voter Vault as was pointed out is free; so too I believe is the Democratic product know as VoteBuilder. However, there will be a strong debate from every list vendor that you get what you pay for, especially when it's free.

The kind of targeting that is needed today to maximize the use of resources demands the savings that are only as a result of the use of enhanced voter data. These enhancements are most current and most plentiful at the paid level. It has been said that Parties should have stuck with what they do best and left the data management business to data managers.

For the sake of interest, I have attached a partial list to demonstrate the kinds of enhancements that I am referring to. They are appended to a verified Board list.
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greendogdemo says on Jul 23, 2013, 1:11 pm:

Absolutely! Use a vendor. It is relatively inexpensive and much more reliable. They sort for frequency of vote and other criteria you may need. Don't waste money mailing to all voters, or time walking to all precincts. Get the right data that works in your particular race. in California, this is Political Data, Inc. They have snapshots of your district on line and can provide in depth information about the District and the race. They are very helpful and answer questions quickly. http://politicaldata.com/Pages/Index.aspx
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bendonahower says on Aug 15, 2013, 4:36 pm:

It depends.

If you are running in a smaller, local race, with simple targeting, eg., Democrats who voted in the last like election, use the cheap data.

Is someone on your team dynamite with Microsoft Access and Excel? If so, you might be able to get away with the data from the state for a state race.

With that said, your list is one of the most valuable elements of your campaign. If you have a bad list, it doesn't matter how good your strategy is, it will fail. Likewise, when you are fully leveraging the power of your databases, everything else is easier.
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