The Data-Driven Battle for Abortion Rights: How the 2022 Midterms Will Shape 2024

The political stage continues to buzz with the data-crunching aftermath of the 2022 midterms. Democrats and pro-choice advocates are diving deep into oceans of data amassed during the midterms, which promise to be instrumental in the 2024 election battle.

A significant player in the game is the Democratic Data Exchange (DDx). This privately-operated data hub is a treasure chest of information from Democratic campaigns and progressive movements. The brainchild of former presidential candidate Howard Dean, DDx was devised to square up to the GOP’s formidable data-collection machine. As of now, it’s the official data hub for the Democratic National Committee and President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign in 2024.

Initially trialed in the 2019 Kentucky governor’s race, the DDx system has spread across 47 states and collected voter data on a whopping 85-95% of registered voters in battleground states. Over 500 candidates, campaigns, PACs, and advocacy groups are riding the DDx wave into the 2024 cycle.

But where does this data come from? The answer lies in everyday voter outreach: calls, texts, door-to-door chats, and polling data. The digital bounty of DDx is staggering, boasting more than 3.4 billion unique data points collected by its members, including 1 billion harvested in 2022.

Each interaction with a voter—be it a call, text, or knock at the door—adds a data point to the DDx system. From individual conversations to voter profiles, DDx collects raw data and refines it, providing invaluable insights into voter sentiments and priorities.

Navigating through federal campaign finance regulations, DDx obscures the origins of the data. However, the accessible information provides a deeper understanding of voters’ preferences, aiding campaigns and other groups in more accurately targeting their messages.

The data has already proven to be a game-changer. For example, campaigns working against an anti-abortion ballot measure and a fetal personhood bill in Kentucky used 3 million voter IDs from DDx data, impacting the voice of 65% of registered voters and 68% of registered women. Similarly, in Michigan, campaigns used DDx data encompassing 90% of registered voters, contributing to significant Democratic victories.

Even in tight races, DDx data proved instrumental, ensuring 3,500 absentee ballots were counted in Arizona and helping identify key counties in the December 2022 U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia.

As the data continues to be refined, DDx provides the potential to identify tens of millions of pro-choice voters, crucial to defeating GOP’s anti-abortion proposals and passing pro-choice initiatives.

The invaluable data gathered in 2022 sets the stage for the 2024 elections, where the fight for abortion rights is expected to be a central issue. Pro-choice advocates aim to put pro-abortion-rights amendments on the ballot in Ohio (2023), and Florida and South Dakota (2024).

As Cecile Richards, former CEO of Planned Parenthood, puts it, “DDx is one of the greatest assets the pro-choice movement has in a post-Roe world… DDx will be crucial to helping Democrats and progressive groups in tough states beat back further right-wing attacks on reproductive rights.”

In the fast-paced world of ballot measure campaigns, DDx plays an invaluable role, providing a broad overview of ongoing activities, helping campaigners effectively prioritize their efforts and avoid duplication. As we look to the future, this progressive data exchange will undoubtedly continue to be an invaluable resource for progressive causes, shaping the way elections are fought and won.