Friday, November 16, 2012

The Role of Data Analysis in "Get Out The Vote" Operations

In this article in The Atlantic, Ben Jacobs describes the failures of the Romney campaign's "ORCA" software platform.  ORCA was supposed to help the campaign identify which likely Romney voters had already cast their ballots.   Thus, they could focus get-out-the-vote operation resources on voters who hadn't gone to the polls yet. 
It turns out that the Obama campaign had tried something similar in 2008, and that system had also crashed.   The Obama campaign learned its lesson from this experience. They came to the conclusion that such an election day system was not feasible.   For 2012 they went with a system called "Narwhal" that targeted likely voters before election day. 

So in a sense the Romeny campaign was on cycle behind from a technical perspective -- they learned a lesson that the Obama campaign had learned 4 years earlier. 

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