Quoted from the WSJ. Full article here.
Marketing politicians is now like selling drinks. It involves filtering polices and voters through algorithms.
The Obama campaign focused on data showing the “persuadability” of voters. Multivariate tests identified issues and positions that could move undecided voters, ProPublica said: “The persuasion scores allowed the campaign to focus its outreach efforts—and their volunteer calls—on voters who might actually change their minds as the result. It also guided them in what policy messages individual voters should hear.”
Big data give incumbents a big advantage, which seems to have surprised the Romney team. The Obama campaign has used cookies to track its supporters online since the 2008 election. It spent the past 18 months creating a new, unified database, factoring in some 80 pieces of information about each person, from age, race and sex to voting history. (The campaign denied reports that it tracked visits to pornography sites in its outreach algorithms.) The Romney campaign says it tried to match the Obama campaign’s collection and analysis of data but had to start from scratch and had just seven months after the primaries.
What does this mean for you? Voters need to develop buyer-beware habits. The era of politicians saying the same thing to all voters is over. Campaigns aim to tell voters exactly what each wants to hear: data-driven pandering.