According to an article published in the MIT Technology Review last week, the Obama campaign adeptly used “big data” to predict voting behavior while the Romney team slept. The article made the case that when it came to technology, the Obama team didn’t just lap the Romney team. They were competing in an entirely different arena. It was Romney’s buggy whips vs. Obama’s Star Wars.
Dan Rowinski at the respected technology blog ReadWrite.com found the MIT article compelling:
“What the Obama team did was little short of amazing. It essentially created a cohort-analysis system of data to judge every single voter it wanted to get to the polls. Obama’s team took the usual system of analytics and reduced it to the most granular level: the individual voter.
“The analytics campaign, led by chief analytics officer Dan Wagner, was able to assign voters individual scores based on if and how they would vote. In doing this, Wagner’s team could accurately predict human behavior.”
The question many Republicans are now asking is whether the Republican National Committee’s recently announced “Fleischer Report” (officially known as the RNC “Growth and Opportunity Project,” and initially referred to by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as a “full autopsy”) will address the large digital deficit that separates effective Democratic campaign techniques from the expensive and ineffective Republican methods.
When Reince Priebus announced that Ari Fleischer would be one of the five co-chairs to head the RNC’s “Growth and Opportunity Project” on December 10, he also named the eight areas of focus for the project: (1) campaign mechanics and the ground game (2) fundraising (3) demographics (4) messaging (5) third party outside groups (6) campaign finance (7) the national primary process and (8) lessons learned from the Democrats. None of these eight areas specifically address the digital deficit.
During the 2011-2012 election cycle, the Romney campaign’s digital efforts were handled by one firm, Targeted Victory, LLC, which received more than $96 million from the three organizations that funded the Romney campaign: The RNC, Romney Victory, Inc., and the Romney campaign committee.
An earlier informal meeting held on December 6, apparently unrelated to the “Fleischer Report,” discussed some of the shortcomings of the Republican digital effort and was lead by Targeted Victory, LLC co-founder Zac Moffat and RNC chief of Staff Jeff Larson.
Breitbart News asked Mr. Fleischer to comment on the digital deficit and online media more than a week ago, but has not yet received a response to this and several other questions posed to him about the scope of the RNC report he chairs.