"For decades, political targeters had to use geographic or demographic heuristics (classifying precincts based their past vote performance or Census tracts based on their complexion) to sort voters into those categories en masse. With the individual-level voter data and statistical analysis available to today's campaigns, they can now sort voters one by one... The goal was to collect intelligence about potential voters' 2012 intentions and distill that down to a series of individual-level predictions..."
"The Obama campaign's algorithms ran the numbers and predicted the
likelihood that every voter in the country would cast a ballot,
assigning each a turnout score. Obama's analysts knew how good their support
score was because they polled a new group of voters to validate it: 87
percent of the time it would accurately predict an individual's
preference. But it would be impossible to confirm their algorithm's turnout
predictions until after the election. But they did their best to assess
its accuracy, by calling voters and asking them how likely they are to
vote. Analysts know that people are poor predictors of their future
behavior, but they got answers that confirmed that their rankings were
at least sensible."
The Economist has a good overview of each campaign's ground game.
Taegan D. Goddard is the founder of Political Wire, one of the earliest and most influential political web sites.
Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You
Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political
management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from
both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public
policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country,
including the Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, San Francisco
Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer and Christian Science
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.
PRAISE FOR POLITICAL WIRE
"There are a lot of blogs and news sites claiming to understand
politics, but only a few actually do. Political Wire is one of them."
-- Chuck Todd, NBC News political director
"Concise. Relevant. To the point. Political Wire is the first site I check when I’m looking for the latest political nugget. That pretty much says it all."
-- Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report
"Political Wire is one of only four or five sites that I check every
day and sometimes several times a day, for the latest political news
-- Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report
"The big news, delicious tidbits, pearls of wisdom -- nicely packaged, constantly updated... What political junkie could ask for more?"
-- Larry Sabato, Center for Politics, University of Virginia
"Political Wire is a great, great site."
-- Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe
"If I were on the proverbial
desert island and had only one web site to access, Political Wire would
-- Dotty Lynch, CBS News political consultant
"Taegan Goddard has a knack for digging out political gems that too
often get passed over by the mainstream press, and for delivering the
latest electoral developments in a sharp, no frills style that makes
his Political Wire an addictive blog habit you don't want to kick."
-- Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post
"Political Wire is one of the absolute must-read sites in the blogosphere."
-- Glenn Reynolds, founder of Instapundit
"I rely on Taegan Goddard's Political Wire for straight, fair political news, he gets right to the point. It's an eagerly anticipated part of my news reading."
-- Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.
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