Technology advancement has impacted on political campaigning to an extent that it is no longer viable to campaign through speeches by train and the like. Social media and targeted ads have replaced the old ways of campaigning. Currently, campaigns are done with precision. For Democrats, some signs point towards their victory in November, thanks to technology-powered campaigns.
NGP VAN has been part of Democrats since 2004 and it has been keeping its records. Today, the number of users of its mobile phone canvassing app, MiniVan, is amazing. Democrats’ volunteers have been using the mobile app when doing door-to-door campaigns. It eases the burden of dealing with printouts when, for instance, determining which house to hit. People started downloading the app back in 2010 when it was launched on iOS.
According to the General Manager for Organizing at NGP VAN, Amanda Coulombe, the number of users of the app this year exceeded the ones for 2016 by over 70,000. The app has broken its record of the number of users logging into the app per day two times. MiniVan set the latest record on September 15 and it is expected to be broken in the course of the remaining 6 weeks to elections.
It is true that numbers don’t lie. It is estimated that 60% of volunteers have embraced the use of the app. According to Amanda Coulombe, the number of MiniVan users has increased tremendously since 2016. The spread of mobiles over time throughout the United States also contributed to the gradual increase in the number of MiniVan users. In addition, more people log on to the app in a presidential election year as compared to a midterm year. Even an associate professor of political science called Eitah Hersh attests to the view that people log on to NGP VAN’s tools more during a presidential election and mid-term elections attract very few volunteers.
An app usage cannot be used to predict winners of an election. However, Democrats have consistently used one app while the Republicans have used various apps. Therefore, MiniVan is better telling than Republican’s. The Democrats should be encouraged by this alternative data points. According to Melisa Michelson, a political science professor, the data of app users is consistent with the increase in activity among the Democrats. The professor also said that while canvassing’s effectiveness in swaying voters from one candidate to another has been questioned, canvassing remains a good way to convince voters to turn up and vote.