A new Republican polling firm, Harper Polling, begins operations this week in an effort to eliminate the GOP’s disadvantage when it comes to amassing data about voters.
Specifically Harper wants to even things up with Democrats on what’s known as IVR, or interactive voice response polling, more commonly known as “robo-polling,” Politico reports
Republicans have largely shunned automated data collection, opting for more expensive surveys based on live telephone interviews. In 2012, those efforts were off base in many contests, thanks largely to inaccurate forecasts of turnout.
The GOP has suffered over the last few elections from the prowess of Public Policy Polling in getting information to Democrats. Some of PPP’s work is also distributed publicly. The firm produces hundreds of surveys on individual races and national issues.
Brock McCleary, Harper’s founder and the outgoing polling director of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), says the firm is looking to tap into the same flexible, inexpensive data that Democrats are acquiring.
“The technology is very affordable and very nimble. Having fast, precise polling was very useful for us [at the NRCC],” he told Politico. “This is what PPP is, and there’s really no competitor.” McCleary doesn’t envision Harper competing with other GOP pollsters, but rather cooperating with them.
The Republican Party is making an effort to breach the general digital divide that favored Democrats in last month’s elections.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this is the moment that this must be fixed,” Vincent Harris, a GOP strategist who ran digital efforts for the presidential campaigns of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, told The Hill. “The good news, though, is that everyone seems to be open to solutions.”
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