Political ‘nerds' win the day for Obama campaign
The way presidential campaigns are run have forever changed in the wake of President Obama's victory over Mitt Romney.
Details are emerging — and undoubtedly more will be forthcoming as the election is analyzed — about the data-mining methods used by the Obama campaign strategists to push over the goal line a president who some said simply could not win with the state of the economy and high unemployment numbers.
It certainly was a historic achievement for an incumbent facing those kind of circumstances. Many believed — including Romney — that it would an easy win for a challenger.
So what happened?
A new way of campaigning happened, and politicians from both sides of the aisle will be taking a close look at the methods and adopting them in future elections.
Romney counted on “heart” and enthusiasm from his supporters. Obama wanted those things, too, but he added hard, cold numbers to the equation. Hints of this have been reported throughout the campaign as some reporters were permitted to see “behind the curtain” at Obama campaign headquarters.
Basically, it involved using census and voting data to micro-target likely potential voters for the president in critical areas — the so-called battlegrounds states that would determine who would win the Electoral College, the only number that truly matters in a presidential election.
Those who have been given an insider view in the back rooms were frankly amazed what a carefully selected group of computer data “nerds” were doing. On the ground, teams of Obama election workers took this precious data that identified key areas and key voters to build support for the president for more than a year and a half, including expanding voter registration and then making sure they actually turned out on Election Day. They targeted ads to the data. They built extremely refined computer models that predicted outcomes accurately.
The president who “could not win” actually expanded his electorate in critical areas from his first win in 2008. Everything his strategists said would happen actually did happen.
The first step, of course, is to have a good candidate. But the “Model T” campaigns of the past are gone. It is unlikely any serious presidential candidate will win in the future without duplicating the methods of the Obama campaign this year. The “nerds” now rule in politics.