About six months ago I was talking with a client about the Vlytics mapping tool – our tool geocodes each address and integrates into Google Maps – from there we do some pretty neat stuff with screening and selecting voters directly from that interface. The client asked if Vlytics did precinct maps? I almost said “no” – its hard to keep up with the precinct boundaries on granular level – we are working on it but its not easy.
Instead I said why?
I mean what is the purpose of a precinct map really? Precinct maps visually display ratios based on vote totals (i.e. how much you won/lost by) and more complex ones even have disparate data overlays (i.e. show the precincts that were won/lost but also have the a certain income level, homeownership levels or how many kids live there). With micro-targeting as good as it is these days and with more and more tools out there making it cheaper why resort to long spreadsheets and colored markers? Instead of hitting a precinct why not just hit the people/households who matter – no matter what the split was in that precinct?
My point is this; the over abundance of data means that the only geographic boundary that matters is the state or district boundary. Certainly zip+4, county and precinct lines will still play a role in walks and geographic sign placement (don’t get me started on political signs) but in the modern campaign that utilizes online ads, paid calls and television the precinct targeting of the 20th century is becoming obsolete.