On Super Tuesday, Obama dominated the independent vote. He also raised $32 million in January, mostly from small individual contributions. He utterly crushed Hillary this past weekend. Clearly he’s running a very effective campaign. What can learn from it?
Read these two links:
There are commercially-available databases, built up from data on magazine subscriptions, warranty cards, supermarket purchases, etc etc. They break populations into demographic and cultural groups. From there, they can predict people’s attitudes, based on their group.
The Obama campaign bought the databases and used them for targeted marketing. They had tailored messages for different groups. Depending on their data, they would phone, or send mail, or send someone knocking. For their supporter database, they knew who was strong, who was weak, and they followed up.
By contrast, what did the Ron Paul campaign have?
My meetup got a walking list from the campaign, which was simply a list of Republican voters. Free public information. They gave us a neighborhood to walk that basically wasn’t walkable – it was a bit rural, houses were far apart, dogs were running loose everywhere. A lot of these people were diehard Bush supporters.
After that, we picked our own neighborhoods. We picked dense upscale areas that had friendly people. But now we had no information at all. We didn’t even know who was a registered voter…but we still got better results than that first time.
The phone lists they gave us were the same thing: people who’d voted in Republican primaries. Those phone calls didn’t go very well either. If the campaign had done their polling properly, they would have known better:
“Every exit poll and detailed pre-polls showed Republicans were the least likely to vote for Ron Paul. States with open primaries showed him getting three to five times as many votes from Democrats and independents as from Republicans.”
Now, I know those pollsters are wicked expensive. Don’t know how much time they need to ramp up, either. Maybe there wasn’t enough money to justify it until the Teaparty, and by the time they get the database, design and execute the polls, and use the results to tailor some scripts, maybe it’s Super Tuesday already.
But for next time, let’s remember this. The Obama campaign, and probably others, did sophisticated database marketing. We flew a blimp. I loved the blimp, I saw it in Myrtle Beach and it was downright imposing, but I don’t think it really got the job done. It was an illusion of power. In a campaign, information is the real thing.