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Ted Cruz's campaign relies on 'psychographic targeting' to win over voters

Are you a "relaxed leader," a "stoic traditionalist," a "temperamental conservative," or a "true believer?" Ted Cruz's campaign thinks it has a pretty good idea which category you fit into. According to The Washington Post, Cruz's team is using "psycho­graphic targeting" to win over voters — a kind of science developed by statisticians and behavioral psychologists that tailors campaign messages to individuals based on their psychological labels:

The personality and political scores applied by the campaign are used to tightly tailor outreach to individuals. For example, personalities that have received high scores for "neuroticism" are believed to be generally fearful, so a pro-gun pitch to them would emphasize the use of firearms for personal safety and might include a picture of a burglar breaking in to a home.

But those who score high for "openness" or traditional values are more likely to receive a message that promotes hunting as a family activity, perhaps accompanied by an image of a father taking his son duck hunting. [The Washington Post]

Cruz's campaign reportedly uses data from Facebook, its "Cruz Crew" app, and surveys to build "enhanced voter files" containing data points like a person's magazine subscriptions and food preferences — all of which lead the campaign to create a label for a voter that's similar to a modified Myers-Briggs personality test.

"There is no handbook for this. The conventional wisdom has been destroyed. What you can do is rely on data," Cruz's campaign manager Jeff Roe said.