The war of words between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz started on Friday when Cruz was recorded in a private meeting with supporters revealing his belief that Trump was not trustworthy enough to be Commander in Chief.
Cruz stated that Trump and Ben Carson’s campaigns would begin to take a downward turn, and that Cruz would “bear hug” them both in an effort to pick up Trump and Carson supporters as the two dropped out of the picture. Trump quickly responded by saying that Cruz should come out in the open with his comments and not hide behind closed doors. On Sunday, he called Cruz a “maniac.” Cruz has, one could say, taken the high road in the jousts with Trump.
And from the latest poll numbers, it seems that the Cruz plan is working. According to The Des Moines Register, “Cruzmentum” is “crushing it in Iowa” with 31 percent, as opposed to Trump’s 21 percent. The poll is from The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Iowa.
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The Cruz campaign believes that their success in Iowa is due to their use of psychological profiling of potential voters in what is called “psychographic targeting.” At the Cruz campaign headquarters in Houston, a team of statisticians and behavioral psychologists built their own Myers-Briggs personality test, specifically for the campaign. The test data is then used to micro-target voters with personalized messages, phone calls, and visits.
One example of this targeted campaigning was when the Republican Jewish Coalition met in Las Vegas in May of this year. The Cruz campaign, to tout Cruz’s devotion to Israel, unleashed a series of ads only visible inside the hotel complex. The series of web-based advertisements was designed to sway attendees to vote for Cruz in the primaries.
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The Cruz campaign works in partnership with Cambridge Analytica to upgrade their data collection activities. Cambridge Analytica surveyed 150,000 U.S. households in an effort to mine for data that could be used to aid the Cruz campaign and get an edge on the field. Cambridge Analytica also used Facebook as a source for data collection.
The collaborative efforts of the statisticians and behavioral psychologists has resulted in email campaigns, mobile apps, prayer meetings, and activist coalitions, all designed to reach a specifically targeted audience. Cruz has also created a social structure to aid his campaign by using the data collected to locate and recruit “pastor chairs” and “precinct captains” to serve as grassroots leaders in his campaign.
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