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Old 11-10-2012, 08:19 AM   #1
Perknose
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Default Why Romney Never Saw It Coming

Like the article says, he's a numbers guy but his numbers were all wrong. It's a pretty good synopsis of his campaign's mistakes and delusions.

Quote:
Mitt Romney says he is a numbers guy, but in the end he got the numbers wrong. His campaign was adamant that public polls in the swing states were mistaken. They claimed the pollsters were over-estimating the number of Democrats who would turn out on Election Day. Romney’s campaign was certain that minorities would not show up for Obama in 2012 the way they did in 2008. “It just defied logic,” said a top aide of the idea that Obama could match, let alone exceed, his performance with minorities from the last election. When anyone raised the idea that public polls were showing a close race, the campaign’s pollster said the poll modeling was flawed and everyone moved on. Internally, the campaign’s own polling—tweaked to represent their view of the electorate, with fewer Democrats—showed a steady uptick for Romney since the first debate. Even on the morning of the election, Romney’s senior advisers weren’t close to hedging. They said he was going to win “decisively.” It seemed like spin, but the Boston Globe reports that a fireworks display was already ordered for the victory. Romney and Ryan thought they were going to win, say aides. “We were optimistic. More than just cautiously optimistic,” says one campaign staffer. When Romney lost, “it was like a death in the family.”

How did the Romney team get it so wrong? According to those involved, it was a mix of believing anecdotes about party enthusiasm and an underestimation of their opponents’ talents. The Romney campaign thought Obama’s base had lost its affection for its candidate. They believed Obama would win only if he won over independent voters. So Romney focused on independents and the economy, which was their key issue. The Republican ground game was focused on winning those voters. “We thought the only way to win was doing well with independents and we were kicking ass with independents,” says a top aide. One senior adviser bet me that if Obama won Ohio, he would donate $1,000 per point to my favorite charity. (That would be a $10,000 hit since Romney lost Ohio but won independents by 10 points). In the end, Romney won independents nationally by five points—and it didn’t matter one bit.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign was openly dismissive of the Obama ground game. Why are they wasting so much money with neighborhood offices, they asked? (In Ohio, for example, Obama had almost 100 more offices than Romney.) In retrospect, the Romney team is in awe and full of praise of the Obama operation. “They spent four years working block by block, person by person to build their coalition,” says a top aide. They now recognize that those offices were created to build personal contacts, the most durable and useful way to gain voters.

Romney advisers say it was impossible to compete against Obama’s huge war chest. They also envy his ability to leverage the presidency for his campaign. Young voters were told about new provisions for student loans and Obama’s support for same-sex marriage, an issue that appeals to young voters. Hispanic voters were wooed by the president’s plan to waive the deportation of children of illegal immigrants. One Romney aide also included the much-debated changes to welfare requirements as a policy aimed to win over African-American voters. “It was like they had a calendar,” said one Romney aide. With each month, the Obama administration rolled out a new policy for a different segment of their coalition they hoped to attract.

Though Romney said he was “severely conservative,” it was the Obama team that played its hand conservatively. They, too, planned for fewer Democrats to show up at the polls, but in their case it was so that their campaign organization would work twice as hard. On election night in Ohio, when turnout exceeded their intentionally conservative estimates in some districts, they knew that they’d win the state 45 minutes before the networks called it.

It’s not that the Romney camp failed to meet its targets. They say they actually met their voter outreach goals in Ohio. During the summer, they targeted more than 2 million voters who had not voted in party primaries. Those were the independents they believed would be the key to the race. Since the strategy seemed to be paying off with internal and external polls showing Romney leading among independents, the Romney team felt like they were working their plan. “We did everything we set out to do,” says a top strategist about the Ohio effort. “We just didn’t expect the African-American vote to be so high.” African-American participation in Ohio jumped from 11 percent of the electorate to 15 percent between the 2008 and 2012 elections. "We could never see that coming. We thought they'd gotten a lot last time." But that wasn’t the only problem. Romney underperformed George Bush’s results from 2004 in the vast majority of Ohio’s counties, not just the ones with big African-American populations.

In the post-election analysis, the Romney ticket’s problems with Hispanic voters are well-known. During the primaries, Romney ran so far to the right on immigration he lost a platform to even woo Hispanic votes. But African-Americans are treated as if they are in a category altogether unaffected by the campaign. They were going to vote for Obama no matter what. There’s a little John Sununu-like thinking in this. The former New Hampshire governor suggested that Colin Powell was supporting Barack Obama because of his race. (When Condoleezza Rice said that the party sent “mixed messages,” that must have been what she was talking about.) It’s worth noting though, that if you were an African-American voter, there were plenty of other reasons to vote against Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. Donald Trump has loudly championed that idea that Barack Obama is illegitimate. It was a goofy charge, but one that has cultural resonance with a segment of society whose members have often been discriminated against through the types of disqualification-hunts that Donald Trump engaged in so vigorously. Mitt Romney embraced no other fundraiser with as much public gusto as he did Trump. The energetic attempts by Republicans in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida to limit voting in a way that disproportionately penalizes African-American neighborhoods might also have helped turn out the Democratic base. What role these acts played is not entirely clear, but it certainly didn’t hurt the Obama team’s effort to inspire African-American voters.

If you’re basing your entire campaign on white people, it leaves you little margin of error. That's where Romney’s troubles as a candidate hurt him. An operative in Ohio also admitted that the Obama abortion ads hurt Romney with women in the Columbus area. So too did the "Romney will raise your taxes on the middle class" ads and the ads attacking his tenure at Bain Capital. Romney couldn't afford to lose any of the white vote, and he did. Since the attacks came at a time when he was short of cash, he was not able to respond adequately.

In the final 10 days of the race, a split started to emerge in the two campaigns. The Obama team would shower you with a flurry of data—specific, measurable, and they’d show you the way they did the math. Any request for written proof was immediately filled. They knew their brief so well you could imagine Romney hiring them to work at Bain. The Romney team, by contrast, was much more gauzy, reluctant to share numbers, and relying on talking points rather than data. This could have been a difference in approach, but it suggested a lack of rigor in the Romney camp. On Election Day, the whole Romney ground-game flopped apart. ORCA, the much touted- computer system for tracking voters on Election Day, collapsed. It was supposed to be a high-tech approach to poll-watching, a system by which campaign workers would be able to track who voted. Those who had not yet voted could therefore be identified and then have volunteers tasked to finding them and getting them to the polls. ORCA was supposed to streamline the process, but it was never stress-tested. Field operatives never saw a beta version. They asked to see it, but were told it would be ready on Election Day. When they rolled it out Tuesday, it was a mess. People couldn’t log on and when they did, the fields that were supposed to be full of data were empty. “I saw a zero and I knew I wasn’t supposed to be seeing a zero,” said one campaign worker. A war room had been set up in the Boston Garden to monitor ORCA’s results, but in the end Romney and Ryan had to watch CNN to find out how their campaign was doing. In the end, the numbers guy was deprived of his numbers in more ways than one.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Perknose View Post
Like the article says, he's a numbers guy but his numbers were all wrong. It's a pretty good synopsis of his campaign's mistakes and delusions.
Psst Perknose come over here...The whole God damn Republican party is delusional which is perpetuated by Fox noise.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:52 AM   #3
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In the post-election analysis, the Romney ticket’s problems with Hispanic voters are well-known. During the primaries, Romney ran so far to the right on immigration he lost a platform to even woo Hispanic votes.
Last time Republicans granted Amnesty, Hispanic support dropped from 37% to 30%. So your OP article, Perknose, is plagued by talking points and at least one of them doesn't pass muster.

This one raised a red flag immediately.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:57 AM   #4
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I thought Romney was going to win because the International Democrat union has won everywhere else, because I thought the Republicans could rig the ballots since they controlled every battleground State, and because no Presidential candidate not favored by Wall Street has ever won up until now.

The fact that Obama only won the popular vote by about 2 percentage points helps illustrate what pisspoor condition everything is in.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:36 AM   #5
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Find me a candidate that didn't think they were going to win.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:38 AM   #6
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Find me a candidate that didn't think they were going to win.
The problem isn't with the candidate believing in himself, it's that his professional campaign staff bought into the BS too. Their whole job is to understand what's going on.

Looks like Obama out managed the expert manager, huh.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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The "community organizer" outmanaged the "corporate CEO"

I am beginning to understand what is wrong with corporate America.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:44 AM   #8
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Don't kid yourself. Had Obama lost (sans Sandy or whatever other reason), his staff would have been scratching their heads just the same.

Nevertheless, I can't knock either side for optimism in the eve of the election. Both staffers talked a confident game but truly smart folks knew that nobody would know until the ballots we counted.

Hindsight is always 20/20.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:49 AM   #9
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THE main problem for Romney was that he didn't get his own base out. All the stories about Obama's vaunted ground game and that black voters jumped 4% are cute but don't explain Romney's loss better than the fact GOP leadership cadre is weak weak weak. They wanted independents sooo bad - yet they put a stick in the eye of tea party people and Ron Paul supporters (and I wasn't one). The 2010 election was about the debt - and as a soon as it was over weepy John Boehner and crew raised the debt limit out of fear of media defamtion (Reagan shut down gov 3 times).

Mitt ran a horrible campaign where he thought being soft and whispering sweet nothings would allow him to be invisible and coast across the finish line just because people would turn on Obama's job record. They assumed America voters were rational and thats deadly. To the Dems credit they understand just how dumb Americans have become.

Mitt came on strong one time after convention and that was first debate. Then Mitt went back to being Mr Peepers.

Romney camp and conservative media allowed themselves to get way over-focused on polls and not people.

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Old 11-10-2012, 10:49 AM   #10
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Don't kid yourself. Had Obama lost (sans Sandy or whatever other reason), his staff would have been scratching their heads just the same.

Nevertheless, I can't knock either side for optimism in the eve of the election. Both staffers talked a confident game but truly smart folks knew that nobody would know until the ballots we counted.

Hindsight is always 20/20.
While it's true that people tend to concentrate on mistakes after a loss and I'm sure Obama's campaign made their fair share of mistakes, this is still pretty bad.

It wasn't just that they were wrong, it was that publicly available polling told them that they were wrong and they ignored it. We actually DID know with a high degree of probability that Obama was going to win before the ballots were counted. That's how so many people were able to correctly call basically all the states, including the swing states.

Romney would have been better off reading Pollster.com than listening to his campaign staff it seems.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:52 AM   #11
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THE main problem for Romney was that he didn't get his own base out. All the stories about Obama's vaunted ground game and that black voters jumped 4% are cute but don't explain Romney's loss better than the fact GOP leadership cadre is weak weak weak. They wanted independents sooo bad - yet they put a stick in the eye of tea party people and Ron Paul supporters (and I wasn't one). The 2010 election was about the debt - and as a soon as it was over weepy John Boehner and crew raised the debt limit out of fear of media defamtion (Reagan shut down gov 3 times).
Reagan's government shutdowns had nothing to do with the debt. (you realize that if the national debt is your issue you should hate Ronald Reagan, right?)

Quote:
Mitt ran a horrible campaign where he thought being soft and whispering sweet nothings would allow him to be invisible and coast across the finish line just because people would turn on Obama's job record. They assumed America voters were rational and thats deadly. To the Dems credit they understand just how dumb Americans have become.

Mitt came on strong one time after convention and that was first debate. Then Mitt went back to being Mr Peepers.
You realize that Mitt was viewed as 'coming on strong' precisely because he moderated his positions, right? His previous campaign was so far to the ultra right that he was turning people off. When he shifted to the 'still the most right wing campaign in US history but a little less so' he was credited with making up ground.

I'm not sure if I actually believe that narrative, but the idea that Romney lost because he wasn't conservative enough is a fantasy. To be clear though it's a fantasy that I highly encourage the right to continue believing in as it will make piling up more victories even easier.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:58 AM   #12
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Romney lost because the US now has a critical mass of moochers and parasites. We are now the United Moochers of America.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:02 AM   #13
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"Reagan's government shutdowns had nothing to do with the debt. "

Reasons don't matter. For the MSM it always comes down to showing GOP throwing old people and children over the cliffs no matter what the specifics of the issue are.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:04 AM   #14
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"Reagan's government shutdowns had nothing to do with the debt. "

Reasons don't matter. For the MSM it always comes down to showing GOP throwing old people and children over the cliffs no matter what the specifics of the issue are.
Ohh, you're one of the believers in the fairy tale of media bias. I see! Keep on believing the conservative media, look what a good job they did with this election!
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:06 AM   #15
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These articles pushing the idea that this surprised the Romney campaign are bull. It's an attempt for them to sidestep blame of their donors and say, 'Nobody expected THIS turnout--we were helpless!'

It's also an attempt to absolve themselves of blame for failing to attract certain demographics of voters that everyone recognized were important this cycle.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:19 AM   #16
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Romney lost because the US now has a critical mass of moochers and parasites. We are now the United Moochers of America.
That is far from the truth...thats the way die hard republicans think even when the fact do not bear them out.

Romney lost because he did not embrace the hispanics.....
He lost because he did not embrace womens rights --ie...abortion.....
He lost because he took a firm stand against gay marriage and he essentially lost because nobody trusted him....
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:21 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Farang View Post
These articles pushing the idea that this surprised the Romney campaign are bull. It's an attempt for them to sidestep blame of their donors and say, 'Nobody expected THIS turnout--we were helpless!'

It's also an attempt to absolve themselves of blame for failing to attract certain demographics of voters that everyone recognized were important this cycle.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Farang View Post
These articles pushing the idea that this surprised the Romney campaign are bull. It's an attempt for them to sidestep blame of their donors and say, 'Nobody expected THIS turnout--we were helpless!'

It's also an attempt to absolve themselves of blame for failing to attract certain demographics of voters that everyone recognized were important this cycle.
I kind of agree.

Saturday polls:


Oct 26


The writing was on the wall on MANY polls, but they decided to ignore them making up some BS excuses about the polls showing an Obama lead. Just look at the Romney is leading the polls thread here to see the ignorance. To say that they were surprised is a lame duck excuse when the large majority of polls had Obama in the lead.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:30 AM   #19
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Having been involved at it at a bottom level, my impression was the Obama ground game was heads and shoulders above Romneys. Even a substantial improvement over Obama's 2008 ground game which is pretty legendary for its effectiveness.

The article left out the effect of dingbat undercard GOP. I think they scared a lot of potential voters off and motivated a LOT of Obama's base. Much as the average knuckle-dragger GOP voter despises Obama, Dems, independents and a lot of GOP despise the GOP Congress even more. We had a Senate race here that was supposed to be close (2-3 percent either way)-the Dem won by 12%.

Romney's main problem was that, although he looked presidential, he frequently acted like a buffoon and more importantly absolutely no one trusted him at all on anything.

But the article had the main point right-the GOP echo chamber greatly overestimated the hatred of Obama. Fact is the majority of Americans like him and he has frequently proved himself to most voters, at a minimum, as a very competent President. Sandy certainly didn't hurt in that regard.
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:42 PM   #20
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Obama has shown concern and respect for the entire country, as it is.

Romney has shown by word and action, he has no clue, no concern for the country as it is. He harkens to King George III, not Washington or Jefferson.
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:51 PM   #21
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Living in South Florida, my phone rang about once every 2 minutes with either a recorded message from Bill Clinton on it or Eva longoria. At one point I had to unplug the phone as I worked a gy shift and was being woken up by the same damn recording over and over again, if the Democrats proved one thing its that they have little respect for people other than your vote.
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:00 PM   #22
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"Having been involved at it at a bottom level, my impression was the Obama ground game was heads and shoulders above Romneys"

That's not saying much. 75% of GOP base would have told you Romney's campaign sucked all summer. They were tigers vs other GOP in primaries and then became squishy weenies when confronted with Obama's MSM (Media Shield for Melanin)
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:01 PM   #23
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Two different Americas went to the polls, the real Americans and the folk who claimed that only they were the real Americans. The real America won.
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:35 PM   #24
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I kind of agree.

The writing was on the wall on MANY polls, but they decided to ignore them making up some BS excuses about the polls showing an Obama lead. Just look at the Romney is leading the polls thread here to see the ignorance. To say that they were surprised is a lame duck excuse when the large majority of polls had Obama in the lead.
I was stunned when I read that the Romney campaign operatives were cooking the books in some sort of fantasy project to "correct" the polls. They were making decisions about a half-billion dollar budget based on their own skewed view of reality! Was that supposed to be an illustration of Romney's vaunted business expertise?

You really have to wonder about the innumeracy of these folks. I now understand why we never did get to see actual numbers for the Romney/Ryan budget. They didn't like the polls so they changed the data. They didn't like a CRS report that indicated tax cuts had no effect on jobs or growth so they tried to make it unavailable to the public.

I'm sorry folks but mathematics is not a belief system; you don't "believe" in math, you understand it. It's possible to understand math and believe in God at the same time -- honest.
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:36 PM   #25
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Project Narwahl:
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"In a dark, distant corner of the office, a team of more than a dozen developers sat on big, bouncy yoga balls, tapping away on the customized black keyboards they brought from home. Many of them had unusual facial hair, or unusual piercings, or both, which may be why I heard someone refer to them as “those guys who look like they’re Occupying the office.” Nonetheless, the developers were very much welcome at One Prudential Plaza. For months now, they have been figuring out how to rewrite the campaign’s code—created when the iPhone was a novelty, when Twitter barely existed, and when Facebook was one tenth its current size—for this year’s digital landscape. And they’ve come to some interesting conclusions.

The first is that the campaign can do a much better job of treating people like people,” according to Michael Slaby, Obama’s chief integration and innovation officer—provided it harvests the right data. Don’t ask a disenchanted Ohioan for money; woo him first. Don’t reach out to a supporter who donates $5 during the State of the Union the same way you’d reach out to a supporter who donates $5 during a Republican debate; they respond to different incentives. To figure out who each of us is, and what each of us wants, Slaby and his team are constructing a “microlistening” and computer modeling program that will comb online and off-line behavior patterns for voter information, then use it to personalize every interaction we have with the campaign: fundraising, volunteering, persuasion, mobilization. “The voters we need to reach and the donors that we’re trying to raise money from and the supporters and volunteers we’re trying to activate—they’re all the same group of people,” Slaby told me. “And for us to communicate with them in an integrated and intelligent way, where all of those things get met and we listen effectively, it requires us to evolve.” In 2012 the Obama campaign won’t send its backers a video and say, “Share this with everyone you know”; it will say, “Share this with your four Facebook friends in Pennsylvania’s crucial Lehigh Valley swing district who are worried about the president’s tax policies.”

Slaby’s second insight is that Obama’s online and field operations need to be far more integrated than they were in 2008. Back then, the campaign encouraged supporters to create profiles on a social networking site called MyBarackObama.com. But while MyBO was advanced for the times, it was also weirdly detached from the actual field structure—and from Facebook, which has since become the world’s default social network. So for 2012 Slaby decided to ditch the site and start from scratch. The campaign still isn’t ready to unveil its MyBO replacement, but I managed to collect a couple of clues during my visit to Chicago. “We’re not building a social network,” one insider told me. “You don’t need to create an account. You don’t need to upload a photo.” Instead, by logging in with their Facebook ID, volunteers get immediate access to “any tool that you can get in a field office. You can have that at home, on your computer, in real time, in a way that connects to what your friends are doing and what the people around you are doing.” The campaign, meanwhile, gets immediate access to your Facebook network, plus whatever information you choose to enter about the voters you eventually contact. This way, the insider explained, “we can say, ‘Call your friend of a friend who is a lot more likely to be persuaded if you talk to them’” than if an anonymous volunteer were to call instead.

The final piece of the tech puzzle is smartphones. In 2008 the campaigns focused on SMS because texting was the most sophisticated thing most voters could do with their phones; now, almost every mobile device can surf the Web, play and share video, and connect to Twitter and Facebook. “If my mom, who’s 62, is working off a smartphone and is a supporter of the president, then that’s huge,” Slaby told me. “People can now make calls, canvass, and be engaged on a deeper level from wherever they are.” Last November, the campaign redesigned its website so that it would look and work the same on every platform: PC, mobile, tablet. The motivation wasn’t merely aesthetic; a site that renders properly on a smartphone makes it easier for volunteers to register new voters and call undecideds on the go, and that kind of efficiency translates into extra votes. Or so Chicago hopes. As Slaby put it: “The ’08 campaign doesn’t win 2012. We should learn what we can from last time, and be smart about things that worked then still working now. But it’s a new world.”


http://www.thedailybeast.com/newswee...n-machine.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...012_race_.html


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"The offline operation is just as cutting-edge. Messina’s plan is not to go after every state Obama carried in 2008; instead he will be content to recapture the 251 electoral votes that John Kerry won in 2004 and build from there. He sees five paths to 270, several of which hinge on the president increasing his margins among Latinos, the fastest-growing subset of the electorate. “One of the defining issues of the Republican primary has been the complete race to demagogue immigrants, and there will be a price to pay politically for that kind of rhetoric,” Messina told me. “The Latino vote will be absolutely crucial in this election.”


The West Path would add Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada to the Kerry states, for 272 electoral votes.

The Florida Path would add just Florida, for 275.

The South Path runs through North Carolina and Virginia (274 electoral votes), while

the Midwest Path includes Ohio and Iowa (270 electoral votes). Finally, there’s

the Expansion Path: Obama carries all the Kerry states except blue-collar Pennsylvania and libertarian New Hampshire, then compensates with victories in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and John McCain’s home state of Arizona, which was uncontested in 2008, for obvious reasons."


Quote:
"Cranking at Obama headquarters in Chicago. Officials there boast that they are building an operation that will put their previous effort to shame. “Our efforts on the ground and on technology,” campaign manager Jim Messina says, “will make 2008 look prehistoric.”

Last edited by mshan; 11-10-2012 at 02:55 PM.
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