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Can Data Mining Win a Presidential Campaign? 124

Posted by timothy
from the greetings-citizen dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "According to the Associated Press, Mitt Romney's campaign has contracted consumer-analytics firm Buxton Co. to drill deep into consumer data, with the aim of digging up 'wealthy and previously untapped' donors. (Romney digital director Zac Moffatt told political Website Politico as far back as June that the Romney campaign would 'outsource' its data analytics rather than develop the necessary infrastructure in-house.) In addition to hooking the digital side of their campaign to the Facebook data hose, Obama's election managers have hired a mix of digital directors, software engineers and statistics experts. 'Obama for America is looking for Quantitative Media Analysts, Analytics Engineers, Battleground States Elections Analysts and Modeling Analysts,' reads a want ad on the campaign's Website. The goal: to create data processing pipelines, integrate new data into models, build tools, and generate reports. In an election this close, with a rapidly shrinking number of undecided voters and contested states, a razor-thin advantage created by data analytics could mean the difference between success and failure."
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Can Data Mining Win a Presidential Campaign?

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  • It might actually be nice to have an election won on the back of how bright your geeks are, rather than just how much money you have.

    I would impose the condition that you are only allowed to use geeks that support your politics though. Rather than permitting outsourcing, I want to see this work being done by card-carrying members of your political party.

    • It might actually be nice to have an election won on the back of how bright your geeks are, rather than just how much money you have.

      I would impose the condition that you are only allowed to use geeks that support your politics though. Rather than permitting outsourcing, I want to see this work being done by card-carrying members of your political party.

      Problem is, more money buys better, brighter geeks.

      • Do you not have election budget caps in the US? :) of course not...
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm not the least bit happy about the non-choice we'll have in this presidential election, but I am happy about one thing:

          We will always be able to point to 2012 as a counterexample when someone repeats the stupid canard that he who spends the most wins.

        • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:06AM (#41148271)

          Technically there are no caps, but there are Federal Matching Funds which, if requested, impose caps. It used to be almost obligatory to use the matching funds, if only to avoid an arms race for donations.

          In the last election, when Obama saw how much money he could make if he declined matching funds and thus removed the caps, he decided to take the larger amount of money and raise and spend money without a limit. This time is no different and so now both campaigns have not even bothered, which has made this the election with the most money spent on it ever.

          • So I did a Google and came back with "$6 billion election | Reuters" That's mental.
            • by tnk1 (899206)

              Completely mental, but I don't think it is going to continue forever. I think the Democrats realize that if they decide to fight it out on money, they are going to eventually lose. Obama taking the extra money was a tactical success, but a strategic failure that I think that the Democratic party will regret sooner or later. The Republicans will probably agree to it because even if they align with business interests, I don't think they want to be outright owned by them.

              • by guises (2423402)

                I think the Democrats realize that if they decide to fight it out on money, they are going to eventually lose. Obama taking the extra money was a tactical success, but a strategic failure that I think that the Democratic party will regret sooner or later.

                No, it's Citizen's United and the resulting super PACs that are doing it. The money going to the actual campaigns is still limited to $5000 per contributor (Wikipedia says $2500... I'm not sure that's the whole story, but the point is that it's limited), it's the super PACs that can take an unlimited amount of money and from anonymous donors.

                You are correct that this is working far far more in the Republican's favor than the Democrat's, partly because Obama publicly came out against super PACs and declare

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Do you not have election budget caps in the US? :) of course not...

          Of course not.

          With the US government literally dispensing TRILLIONS of dollars of money each year, is it any real surprise people are willing to spend billions of dollars to effect how those TRILLIONS of dollars get spent?

          The problem isn't the money spent on elections and lobbying. The problem is the government is so damn big and powerful and invasive that the only way to really succeed is to try and bribe it.

          • by Thorodin (1999352)
            I don't know if the size of the government lends people to 'bribe it.' Will Rogers said, way back in the early part of the 20th century, "We have the best congress money can buy."
    • by Idbar (1034346) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @09:54AM (#41148045)
      Intelligence wins elections. It just depends what kind of intelligence, what I get from geeks is that they tend to defend their point of view, politicians on the other hand, they win intelligently, because they say what people want to hear, not what they really think. When they say what they think, they normally lose votes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Thorodin (1999352)
        Agreed. I heard this a couple of weeks ago: "The definition of a politician is one, who seeing which way the crowd is headed, gets out in front and says 'Follow me!'"
        • by Idbar (1034346)
          And when part of the crowd starts to follow... they make a turn, towards their own desired destination. ;-)
    • >> how bright your geeks are, rather than just how much money you have

      You realize that geeks are being employed here for the sole purpose of raising money, right?

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      Would it have any affect on the electoral college?
    • by skids (119237)

      Well from where I'm standing, this "data mining" campaign consists of sending copious amounts of snail mail to people who they could easily tell are going D this year just by checking fundrace.

  • by Ollabelle (980205) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @09:43AM (#41147907)
    So Romney is outsourcing Republican party functions too?
  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @09:46AM (#41147943) Homepage Journal
    Romney has already lost this election. When he chose Paul Ryan as his running mate he sent the middle-of-the-road independent voters running away as they want nothing to do with the extreme conservatism that he represents. He gained only the far-right voters of his own party, but they would have eventually voted for him anyways because they hate Obama. He could have chosen Bill Clinton as his running mate and the GOP far-right still would have voted for him just because they believe Obama to be the devil in the flesh.

    The only way Romney can win this is if the GOP makes an even more epic voter suppression effort than they did in Ohio in 2004, coupled with crooked balloting (and counting) like they did in Florida in 2000, and who knows what else.

    The real puzzler here is why the GOP even let Ryan accept the nomination to be VP on a can't-win ticket. That really doesn't look that great for his future and the GOP loves Ryan. Not many people who were VP nominee on a losing run have come back to make a significant career in national politics (and some polls are already suggesting his congressional seat is now in play, too).
    • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:00AM (#41148153) Homepage

      It seems the campaign is using data to help drive their campaign and thus one can assume their decisions as well. I would be willing to bet that data analysis played at least a small part in the Ryan choice just like any other business looking for an advantage in the marketplace.

      • by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:07AM (#41148277)

        From what I have read elsewhere, most of the data mining efforts are centered around fundraising. It seems that the same priority on fundraising may have played a roll in VP selection. The old line of thought is that with enough money you can get anyone elected.

        As is always the case, the winner is the one most successful in getting their supporters to actually vote. Mobilizing the base keeps states you should never lose out of play.

        • by garcia (6573)

          As is always the case, the winner is the one most successful in getting their supporters to actually vote. Mobilizing the base keeps states you should never lose out of play.

          Analytics can play a pivotal role in finding areas where you should spending your marketing dollars through any variety of avenues. In this case, why wouldn't campaigns use a variety of methods and layers to find areas where your efforts will be best served by choosing strategy as well as a VP candidate who will mobilize your voters the

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        Before you go and throw a hissy fit about Romney data mining, don't forget that Obama also data mines. But he goes farther in that it will lets you download a mobile app to identify all the Democrats in your area.

        Said one Democrat: "I do think it's something useful for them, but it's also creepy," said Lori Carena, 58, a long-time Brooklyn resident, when she was shown the app. "My neighbors across the street can know that I'm a Democrat. I'm not sure I like that." http://www.propublica.org/article/is-y [propublica.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only way Romney can win this is if the GOP makes an even more epic voter suppression effort than they did in Ohio in 2004, coupled with crooked balloting (and counting) like they did in Florida in 2000, and who knows what else.

      Between that, the epic amounts of money Romney is having thrown into this election on his behalf, and the fact that the economy is still limping (no thanks to the breath-holding and screaming defiance of the Tea Party)... I think the GDGOP will manage to take this election.

      Obama, while disappointing (though not surprisingly disappointing, he is, after all, a politician, even if he means well), is a moderate and is much MUCH less dangerous to this country than Romney will be, given what the pick of Ryan say

      • by poity (465672) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @11:21AM (#41149545)

        I see them both as moderates. Romney is pulled by the vocal (and more extreme) wing of his party, and forced to differentiate himself from a moderate Obama. When you must make yourself stand apart from the center, you have no choice but to go towards either wing, and as a Republican there is no place for him to go but to the right. It's tragic, really. You can tell that he's tired of going back on his word and his record as Governor, and that he lacks conviction when he panders to that faction. I'm quite hopeful that if he does win, he won't be keeping many promises to the Tea Party. Though, that's not a risk I'd like to take.

        • by dpilot (134227)

          I'm not terribly bothered by Romney, personally. I don't particularly like him, and he is a silver-spooner, but he's also reasonably smart, and reasonably reasonable.

          I'm worried and bothered by the people that will get dragged into the administration along with him. Remember James Watt?

          • If Romney was running as the moderate he ran as while aiming for job of governor of Massachusetts, I would actually be ok with him. Instead, he decided to follow the same gambit that McCain did in 2008: tack hard to the right to win the republican nomination, and then hope that you have enough political good will left that people will let you tack back to the center for the presidential election. McCain miscalculated badly in 2008 (he also had the problem of running as a Republican when the Democrats could

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            I'm not terribly bothered by Romney, personally. I don't particularly like him, and he is a silver-spooner, but he's also reasonably smart, and reasonably reasonable.

            The right wing propaganda techniques are working.

            Now, because he is not as mentally impaired as George W Bush, or as clearly deranged as Sarah Palin, Romney counts as reasonable.

            This would all be quite amusing if it was Albania we were discussing, but as a non-US citizen I find it disturbing that someone like Romney could even be considered to be president of the most powerful coountry on earth. He's a fucking moron. He came here to the UK before the Olympics and managed to annoy even people like Da

      • by Talderas (1212466)

        Slash and burn the budget, sell the infrastructure to private interests so THEY can neglect our highways and bridges while setting up tolls to squeeze every last bit of profit out of it, shred the scanty few safety nets we have left, let the poor die early because they can't afford to pay for health care, but spend as much as we can on the military, God knows we don't want to look weak, who cares if we can't actually afford to use our military, it has to LOOK strong.

        I suggest you look at the result of the state of Indiana when pursuing such Republican policies.

        In 2006, Indiana leased their tollway to a private company for a lump sum of $3.85b which was reinvested in a number of highway projects. The Democrats cried foul about it and universally opposed it. That caused a dip for Mitch Daniels' approval rating but it quickly recovered as the tollway's conditional greatly improved and a net positive gain was achieved.

        Indiana has their Healthy Indiana Plan in which the sta

    • by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:22AM (#41148533)

      Suppression won't do it either. There are only about 7 states legitimately in play [nytimes.com] right now, and Romney has to pretty much win all to get past the magic 270 electors requred. Obama is ahead in all but one of them (it was all but two, but thanks to nominating the anti-SS/Medicare/Medicaid guy for VP, the lead in FL has now switchted to Obama too).

      The only possible path to victory for Romney/Ryan now is to somehow change the entire map in their favor. They need something big to change in the next two months. No amount of nibbling at the edges is going to do it for them.

      • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:42AM (#41148861) Homepage Journal
        There are only about 7 states legitimately in play right now,

        And that is precisely why we need to do away with the electoral college system. The victor should be decided by who gets the most votes, just like every other election in the country.

        And no, this does not mean the big states (CA, TX, NY, etc) can sway the election. You are still looking at the total number of votes cast. For example, let's say CA voters cast 3 million total votes. Of those, candidate A gets 1.4 million while candidate B gets 1.6 million. That's a difference of 200K votes for candidate B.

        In TX, a total of 2.5 million votes are cast. Candidate A gets 1.4 million votes while candidate B gets 1.1 million votes. A difference of 300K votes for candidate A. For those keeping score, candidate A now has a 100K vote advantage. Rinse and repeat for each state.

        In the end, it won't make much difference changing to a "normal" voting process as the victors have also received the most total votes, but it would do away with this nonsense of concentrating on a few select states (PA, OH and FL for instance) and force the candidates to go after every vote. This doesn't mean there won't still be pockets for either candidate(s) in states, but we won't have to hear about winning a state. You're winning the vote.
        • by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @11:03AM (#41149239)
          FWIW: PA is emphatically not one of the swing states this time around. Obama is way ahead there, has been this whole season, and frankly the state has not voted for a Republican POTUS candidate this century. Romney and the Republicans gave up and pulled out all their ads from PA a couple of months ago. Its in the blue column.

          The real live contested swing states [demookie.com] at this time are (in rough order of closeness) Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina*, and Wisconsin.

          * - This is the one state that Romney is ahead in. Mathematically, Romney has to win all of them, with the exception of one of Colorado, Iowa, or Wisconsin, in order to squeak out a win.

          Say what you will about those states, but they are a fairly representative cross-section of the country. All you are really missing is the NE (New Hampshire almost made the list, but Republicans aren't contesting it)

          • I was using PA as an example (I'm from there). As a rule, a presidential candidate needs to win PA, OH or FL to win the election with the way the electoral college system works.

            As to commercials, I see commercials occasionally for Romney (though I rarely watch commercials anyway so I might be missing more).

            As to NC, I just saw yesterday(?) that Obama has either equaled or is ahead in that state. Which is somewhat surprising considering the demographics there. Maybe those people who have moved in from els

            • by T.E.D. (34228)

              My understanding is that some of the Romney-backing 538's are still running ads in PA, but the national campaigns have quit throwing money away there. Also, you will still see some national ads. I see a few here in Oklahoma, which Nate gives Obama a big fat 0% chance of winning.

              As for NC, if you go back and look [wikipedia.org] you'll see that Obama won NC last time around. If Romney holds on to win it, it will represent a pickup over 2008.

              The demographics in a lot of this country are changing. This should be presenting

              • by gmhowell (26755)

                I think you mean 529's, not 538's. 538 is the title of Nate Silver's blog.

                NC has a pretty decent black population, and the tri-cities area has a lot of young, urban SWPL types, many northern transplants looking for biotech work.

        • by c++0xFF (1758032)

          And that is precisely why we need to do away with the electoral college system. The victor should be decided by who gets the most votes, just like every other election in the country.

          No other election in this country is decided on a national level like you're proposing. Senators are decided by who gets the most votes for a single state. Representatives are decided by who gets the most votes for a district. What office is elected by a majority of the entire population of the United States?

          On the other hand, the overall control of Congress is decided by similar mathematics to the electoral college (though the bicameral system throws this off). In that respect, the Electoral College fi

          • by T.E.D. (34228)

            Anyway, malformed cries against the Electoral College are even more futile than some dude railing against astroturf in a sports bar after taking down a couple of pitchers. The EC is in the Constitution, and cannot be removed without an ammendment. That just does not happen without a large organized national movement and the enthusiastic backing of most of the country. Good luck with that.

            What *can* be done without Constitutional change is to change how states pick their electors. That is left up to the st

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by paiute (550198)

      The only way Romney can win this is if the GOP makes an even more epic voter suppression effort than they did in Ohio in 2004, coupled with crooked balloting (and counting) like they did in Florida in 2000, and who knows what else.

      The one thing you can steal in America and be sure to get away with it is the Presidency.

    • by DarkOx (621550)

      With all due respect you have it all wrong. The one way you CANT win is without your base.

      There is lots of talk about how the base is going to go vote against Obama, and many will but even though he is probably the worst president we have had since Lincoln, people just don't go to polls to vote against someone. They don't. They go to vote for someone.

      The mistake the GOP made is letting Romney like McCain before him run. Like McCain he is not a real conservative and rank and file votes are not motivated

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Worst President since Lincoln, eh?

        Must have forgotten Ronald Reagan. Though really, Obama has the benefit of not suffering from Alzheimer's.

        Ryan would never have a chance to win the Presidency even if Romney's ego let him serve as a VP. He'd find himself forced to not lie as much, and he can't handle that. Plus he lacks the genuine charisma to lead a ticket.

      • With all due respect you have it all wrong. The one way you CANT win is without your base.

        I don't necessarily disagree on that. I think where we may disagree is on the dedication of the base. My argument is that Romney would have, eventually, gotten 100% of the base to vote for him regardless just based on their collective hatred of Obama. He really could have picked anyone and won the base - after all who else are they going to vote for?

        What he needed though was to reach out to independents and moderates (the GOP base is neither of those). He failed miserably to do that by picking Ryan

      • So you're saying Obama is "the worst president we have had since Lincoln"

        So let me tease out your logic there a little bit.
        Lincoln, you must be thinking, was really bad because he won a war against slaveholders and ended slavery,
        which eventually led to that horror of horrors, in your mind, a black president who instituted universal healthcare.

        Yes, I can see the serious problems with that, from the point of view of a confederate redneck who still
        regrets that he has to go to the trouble of getting married, or

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          Lincoln won a war against some slaveholders. Speaking as a lifelong Maryland resident, I can say with certainty that slavery was alive and well following Lincoln's death. The next issue is Lincoln's suspension of habeus corpus.

          But I suspect that the GP meant the tired old 'states' rights' argument that was so popular with stalwarts like Strom Thurmond and George Wallace.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Obama, and many will but even though he is probably the worst president we have had since Lincoln

        Worst since Lincoln? You're out of your mind, son. Obama's only fault is that he's not FDR. His predecessor went into office with a balanced budget, peace, and prosperity (in fact an economic boom better than I'd seen in my life, and I'm 60). When he left office we had been attacked (he was warned but ignored the warnings), the stock market had crashed and we were in the worst recession since the Great Depressio

    • In a PEW study, some 93% of elections (the big ones, like president and house) are won by the candidate who spends the most money. Of the remainder, most fail because of political scandal.

      Romney won't be the center of a scandal. Being Mormon, it's unlikely that he'll be accused of having sex with an aide, and it's unlikely that any financial shenanigans will come to light.

      Romney has been "out funding" Obama by a wide margin, and very little of this money has been spent. There's also the likelihood of pro-Ro

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I disagree, it doesn't need to be a sex scandal, anything bad can kill a candidates chances. Romney for example seems to stumble from one war-on-woman disaster to a pays-no-taxes to, well today, he's facing the 'bain-shipping-jobs-to-china' scandal:

        http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/28/workers_at_bain_owned_illinois_factory

        People don't donate money unless they think someone has a chance to win, or if they desperately need him to win.
        For the 1% that's backing Romney, they're throwing money at him in hope, si

      • by tbannist (230135)

        The Freakonomics guys [freakonomics.com], looked at that data and came to a different conclusion. They think that the side that's going to win spends the most money. It's a subtle difference but important. Their hypothesis is that the side that is going to win has an easier time raising money, and thus has more money to spend. It's an interesting possibility for the correlation between money spend and victory.

        The most important result was that Steve Levitt found that if you double spending on an election (and everything e

        • I agree with you (and them) completely, and had come to that same conclusion independently.

          I don't mean to say that the elections can be bought in this manner - I'm neutral on the issue (or at least, undecided). I think of it more as an example of crowd-sourcing a question with an easy way to determine the result.

          Correlation and causation really don't matter in this instance. The observation is that the two correlate; consequently, we can predict the future from past observations.

          The 1% figure is interestin

    • by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @12:05PM (#41150285) Homepage Journal

      > The only way Romney can win this is if the GOP makes an even more epic voter suppression
      > effort than they did in Ohio in 2004, coupled with crooked balloting (and counting) like they did in
      > Florida in 2000, and who knows what else.

      They've been working really, really hard on voter suppression, in the name of stopping voter fraud. Let's say Romney wins. My question is what will they do in 2014/2016 to keep the offices?

      My personal belief is that one of the fundamental broken aspects of the economy is that the 1% has too much money and the 99% not enough. Because the 99% don't have enough money to do the things they need to do, the economy is sluggish and barely moving. Because the 1% have too much, they keep looking for a place to invest, but investment needs a substantial base in the real world under it, and that substantial base is gone. Therefore every attempt to invest in real-world things (like fuel or mortgages) turns into a bubble. (I suppose I could use the "small-signal analogy" and suggest that too much investment money in too small a base/real economy violates operating point conditions.)

      The universal strategy for Republicans is de-regulation and tax cuts, but neither of those will help the wealth inequality, and I don't even think that they perceive the wealth inequality as a problem. So I don't believe that the Republicans are capable of fielding any sort of economic plan that will fix things. In fact, they'll likely reflexively move move money from the 99% to the 1%, making things worse.

      At the same time, they will likely focus heavily on their social agenda, which at some point is going to start bothering even conservative women.

      IMHO it's a recipe for disaster for them in 2012/2016, unless they figure out how to suppress even more votes.

    • When he chose Paul Ryan as his running mate he sent the middle-of-the-road independent voters running away as they want nothing to do with the extreme conservatism that he represents. He gained only the far-right voters of his own party, but they would have eventually voted for him anyways because they hate Obama.

      Paul Ryan == turnout. GOP grassroots repeatedly tried to hand the nomination to someone else (Trump, Bachman, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, and *oh gawd* Santorum) before the establishment candidate was finally shoved down their throats. Ryan is a golden child they can salivate over (even if they feel lukewarm towards Romney), and nothing between now and November is going to change that for the Republican base. On the other hand, many Independents (whom, you know, have lives and don't follow politics as closely ov

      • The Republican leadership is banking on increased Republican turnout surpassing the losses from Independents and increased Democratic turnout.

        That's the problem he has now, though. Remember in 2008, McCain was considered "not conservative enough" - even after doing the whole conservative song and dance all through the campaign - and yet the GOP base still came out to vote for him. Romney is no less conservative than McCain, and this time the conservatives are also rallied around their undying hatred of Obama.

        Hell, they could have run Joe Lieberman, Charlie Crist, or Zell Miller and they would have gotten all of the base to come out and vot

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Romney has already lost this election.

      I thought so too, for the same reasons you give, but right now Romney and Obama are neck and neck in the polls, even in the "battleground states". I fear you may be wrong. God help our country! We have the choice between being stabbed with an ice pick, or buttraped with a hot soldering iron.

      • Romney has already lost this election.

        I thought so too, for the same reasons you give, but right now Romney and Obama are neck and neck in the polls, even in the "battleground states". I fear you may be wrong. God help our country! We have the choice between being stabbed with an ice pick, or buttraped with a hot soldering iron.

        There are a lot of states at play - including Ohio which the GOP successfully suppressed voting in for the 2004 to the benefit of GWB. I still don't see Romney pulling this off, though. Once the independents hear a little more from Ryan it will be all over.

        That said, yes, it is painful no matter what. We have a choice between re-electing the most conservative president our country has ever had and electing a new guy whose VP candidate makes our current conservative look like Santa Claus. One will kee

  • Mitt Romney's campaign has contracted consumer-analytics firm Buxton Co. to drill deep into consumer data, with the aim of digging up 'wealthy and previously untapped' donors.

    Mis-read it as "wealth of previously untapped policies", im obviously not cynical enough.

  • by mveloso (325617) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @09:57AM (#41148111)

    If you look at the numbers, the general election is usually decided by a few percent.

    Those few percent aren't really worth reaching. A lot of them decide at the booth, making saturation advertising a desperate attempt to shove your name into their heads so it bubbles up to the top in a moment of indecision.

    But, if you look at the numbers another way, the real key to winning the election is getting voters who already like you to vote. The party that wins is the party who's voters show up.

    Will data mining help get people out and vote? Doubtful. Buying all the prime time slots and using them for nagging would probably be more useful...though data mining could identify and drive small donors to donate. Again, though, undecided voters probably don't donate to campaigns a whole lot. Why donate to a campaign if you're undecided?

    • by afeeney (719690)
      I'd argue that data mining for donations could well increase the number of people who vote. People who can be persuaded to give, even a token sum, are more likely to show up and vote because now they feel a closer stake in the election. In addition, to support a candidate financially and then not to show up to vote for that candidate would create an uncomfortable level of cognitive dissonance.
  • by zrbyte (1666979) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @09:58AM (#41148125)

    when data mining and shaping the public opinion are the means to winning.

  • Finance reform (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Haawkeye (2680377) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:01AM (#41148177)
    Your finance system for elections is in desperate need of reform. I live in Canada where companies can not contribute st all. For people the max donation I think is $1500. So the party has to get wide appeal and convince enough people to give them money.
    • And the result is... Mr. Harper? Does the country really need another American lap dog? No, the real solution is to combat the psychology behind the money issue. It's the voters who have to learn to tune it out, and simply look at the politicians record.

  • Even if we don't bring out the Betteridge's Law of Headlines [wikipedia.org]...
    With current candidates I'd say - no.
  • Obama has already won, Romney just doesn't understand it yet.

    The reason for it is that the dialog now is not about being fiscally conservative and pro-individual freedom vs big government, it is now about who is the bigger Democrat: Obama or Romney?

    Obviously Obama IS the bigger Democrat than Romney, thus Romney has already lost.

    The moment Romney said for the first time that Obama is 'hurting Medicare by cutting it', that was the moment Romney lost. Why? Who believes Romney that he is going to out-Obama Oba

  • I don't see how adding more donors to your rolls at this point is going to help either candidate with the undecided in the practically 2 months that are left. Will making one more commercial spend actually change someone's mind? Don't they spend enough as it is? At some point there has to be diminishing returns, if not negative, on a PR election campaign. I know at least for me, if I'm constantly bombarded by political ads, it begins to turn me against the candidate (just like car commercials).

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