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President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign wasted no time trying to raise money off the killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In a text to supporters just hours after Trump announced the successful U.S. special forces raid in northwest Syria, the campaign blasted out a quick poll on the president’s job performance.
The link leads supporters to an “Official Job Performance Poll” with three choices to rate the president: Great, Good, or Okay.
After respondents submit an answer along with their name, email address, and ZIP code, they reach another page, with a picture of a stern-looking Trump — his finger pointing at the camera like Uncle Sam — and an appeal to “take the next step” by ponying up some cash.
“Our President has accomplished more for our Nation than any other President in the history of the United States,” the page reads. “Under his fierce leadership, ISIS is being ELIMINATED. If President Trump isn’t re-elected, Democrats will deplete our great military and weaken our national security.”
Faux polls are one of the most common ways the reelection effort gathers contact information across digital media, with arbitrary deadlines suggesting a sense of urgency for replies. The Trump campaign has pumped out about 41,000 Facebook ads pushing similar surveys, according to the tech company’s Ad Library, including a Mainstream Media Accountability Survey and an Official Election Victory Survey.
The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $125 million last quarter, thanks in large part to small donors reached through such aggressive digital marketing. The reelection effort has thrown unprecedented sums of money at Facebook and Google. It’s helped them get a huge head start on potential Democratic opponents in amassing voters’ personal data.
“This effectively lets us understand where every single voter is in America — who they are and what they’re going to do,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said on the campaign’s official podcast in August. “And one of the big things we’re going to do with that data is get them connected.”
Cover: U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House October 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in a military operation in northwest Syria. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)