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On Polling and the Trump White House: An Interview with Katie Walsh Shields

Katherine Walsh Shields

By Gordon Kamer (Original source Harvard Political Review)

“Katie Walsh Shields is a Senior Advisor for Data to the Republican Party and an advisor to America First Policies, a 501(c)(4) organization. She previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Implementation in the Trump administration, as Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee (RNC), and in various positions in Republican campaigns across the country. 

Harvard Political Review: How has big data changed political strategy during your time in politics?

Katie Walsh Shields: I think that, for the first time, Republicans started to use big data in the 2014 election as it related not only to voter turnout but also to voter persuasion and voter activation — not just in the 72-hour timeframe that Republicans were conditioned to do in ’04 with the Bush [re-election campaign]. We were told for eight years after that that Democrats had beaten us on data, and we spent a lot of time reassessing what data we could collect on folks and what data points we had to help us understand voters. It helps us understand if they were going to vote, how they were going to vote, what issues they cared about.”

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