Dean: DNC Uses Credit Card Data to Predict Votes

     What’s in your wallet?  Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean would like to know.

     Dean and Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan were speakers at a luncheon at the National Press Club Nov. 5, where both reflected on what went right and wrong with their efforts during the 2008 election cycle.

     Dean revealed his party used credit card data to predict voting outcomes. However, Democrats and the media have been highly critical of credit card companies that provide that data.

     “We now can do what they can do,” Dean said. “We have your credit card data like they do. They’ve been for years doing something that we, until 2006, weren’t able to do. We can predict with 85 percent accuracy how you’re going to vote based on your credit card data without bothering to see what party you’re in – the Secretary of State’s office.”

     “They’ve been doing it for a long time,” Dean said of Republicans. “No wonder we’ve been throwing rocks at the bottom of the well. These guys – we can argue about how well they run the country, but they certainly know how to run elections.”

     Dean’s admission that his party is using credit card data in elections is curious because a plank in the Democratic Party’s 2008 platform vows to regulate that very instrument through a “Credit Card Bill of Rights”:

Consumer Protection

We will establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights to protect consumers and a Credit Card Rating System to improve disclosure. Americans need to pay what they owe, but they should pay what’s fair. We’ll reform our bankruptcy laws to give Americans in debt a second chance. If people can demonstrate that they went bankrupt because of medical expenses, they will be able to relieve that debt and get back on their feet.”


     Duncan didn’t exactly acknowledge the RNC participates in the tactic, but he did explain his party is actively innovating their processes of data entry and tracking.

     “He’s talking about our thin-slicing, our micro-targeting that we’ve developed,” Duncan said. “And actually, we’ve taken it another step further this time. I’m not going to go into all the details, but we’re able to do direct data entry off of a handset that we didn’t invent, but we got an inventor to get this time so that we could do it directly into the handset. We were able to make 30 million voter contacts in 20 weeks with our volunteers.”

     Duncan told the audience the RNC had to be more efficient because despite a fundraising advantage over the DNC, groups known as 527s have been aiding the DNC over the past couple of election cycles.