Try this little test. Click on this link to go Upmystreet.com. Type in the postcode of a UK residential address that you want to check. Then click on the link marked ACORN PROFILE and go to “full profile” . You will then see an interesting description of how the marketing business assesses people who live there, how much they earn, what TV they watch, the things they buy and what papers they read etc.
Now ask yourself whether the profile is a fairly accurate reflection of people you know with that post-code?
It’s a system like this, but obviously more comprehensive than what’s available free on the net, that is at the heart of the Tory “Voter Vault” of which a lot has been written in recent weeks. Party campaigners are said to be using it to identify the characteristics of potential Tory voters in marginal seats so they can find specific individuals to target at the General election.
A similar databank used by the Republicans was said to have been at the heart of their campaigns in swing states like Ohio. Apparently the car you drive is a dead giveaway and Volvo drivers were almost certainly going for Kerry. In the UK Labour have their own data profiling system available.
What the Tories are hoping is that their system will allow them to identify and then focus fully on that select group of voters that really matter – those who might switch to the party in marginal seats. There’s no doubt that the data profiling techniques enshrined within Voter Vault do help commercial companies find new customers. But is this approach going to produce more seats for the Tories at the General Election?
Everything depends not on the information itself but on how it’s used. Can they develop communication strategies that will cause people to switch?
You can see the data being used to generate bespoke letters and leaflets and they might develop a specific telephone script to deal with different groups. They are setting up a telephone campaign centre to use the information which will be focused entirely on marginal seats – many of which are in the Midlands.
Will it work? It might – but don’t hold your breath.
Latest Tory seats prices:-
0 – 220 10/11
245 + 12/5
221 – 228 5/1
229 – 236 6/1
237 – 244 15/2