Days of Change

Buying Your Vote | February 5, 2016

When over a billion dollars are poured into an election where just over 100 million people vote, there is certainly some money being spent to sway those voting decisions. Now consider the fact that 2/3 of those voters won’t switch from one party to another in a matter of weeks, a lot of money is going into changing a relatively small number of votes.

Fox Business’ John Stossel had a segment about the use of analytics to target the individuals who are most likely to get you elected. It should be no surprise that Ted Cruz used this data collection to get a win in Iowa this week. There were ham-handed tactics like voter reports where you (and others) see how often you actually voted instead of staying home. At the same time, there were people on the ground who knocked on doors, but only the ones a phone app told them were good prospects to vote for Cruz.

2012 was a big year for analytics. It was how the Obama campaign knew who didn’t early vote and therefore who to call and contact incessantly until they did. The Romney campaign purchased products and data based on analytics, then chose either not to use them or use them badly. The ORCA scandal was not a fluke, it was the culmination of a campaign that spent money on technology and tactics they didn’t trust and never bothered to understand.

I’ve written extensively about the logistical advantages the Democrats have. Population density is the top indicator of party preference. They can literally drive a bus through an urban area and fill it in 10 minutes with voters en route to a polling place. Republicans have to work with larger ground to cover. Some guy with his own jet isn’t going to fix that.

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