The 2012 Victory Lab

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sasha Issenberg, contributor to Slate, Washington correspondent for Monocle, and author of the book The Victory Lab, on how the Obama administration harnessed technology and mined data in winning the 2012 election.


Sasha Issenberg

Comments [6]

David from Fredericksburg, VA

Clinton was not a great president. A great politician, yes. A great president, no (not to say he was awful, just not great).

Nov. 21 2012 11:16 AM
Meredith from NYC

The Times article -- Academic ‘Dream Team’ Helped Obama’s Effort—Nov 12, gave examples of how big time academic psychologists advised the campaign—on how to use techniques to manipulate people into voting for Obama—signing a card to commit to vote, identifying the person as a likely voter, saying most people in their district usually vote, and others. It also brought candidates personal ‘warmth’ in addition to his ‘competence’.

It’s amazing this has to be done--at a time when the security of the middle class is threatened, and their jobs, wages, education, retirement and health care has become so insecure, with huge wealth transferred from the middle class to the top 1 percent, and with Romney showing great cluelessness and callousness to the problems of the majority, based on his actual past record and his statements.

It’s amazing that anyone has to be manipulated into voting for the candidate who might help save them from obvious disaster—based on his actual policies already carried out.

Such a stark contrast, and so many people in peril--Yet academic psychologists must be hired to use advertising techniques to manipulate people into voting at all and into voting for Obama. What does this say about Americans? Without these techniques would Obama have actually lost? Is this the best academic psychologists can offer our politcs?

Nov. 21 2012 10:54 AM
RJ from prospect hts

It's ironic that these "new discoveries"--this hierarchy of effectiveness--1) face-to-face, 2) phone calls, etc., have long been known by traditional organizers. My parents were doing these things in the 50s, the labor movement has been doing in for decades. It's sad to think that these new tools--the ability to accumulate data--are being seen as the driver rather than as tools to enhance the traditional. The studies showing these things are both intuitive and long known.

Nov. 21 2012 10:48 AM
John A

Earlier versions of "The Matrix", by other authors, had the computers trying to control your vote. These books were written in the 60's and 70's. And here we are.

Nov. 21 2012 10:44 AM
Ben from Westchester

Brian, please make the point that given what Sasha Issenberg is saying (which is true), that you should NO LONGER be telling people to vote because their vote will determine an outcome. You should tell them that by not voting, young people are QUITE LITERALLY taking money out of their own pockets.

When Mitt Romney says "we will preserve medicare and social security as is for current and soon to retire people," what he is really saying is that they have run the data on who is voting and young people are not voting in sufficient numbres to have their benefits preserved.

In this data-driven era, people need to vote in order to preserve their rights and their resources.

Nov. 21 2012 10:43 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Ironically this connects to Rebecca Solnit's theses: Does the use of these algorithmic analyses reduce the likelihood that campaigns will be the long-term mode of bringing people together rather than the traditional local, ongoing, community-based organizing that have often evolved into electoral efforts?

Nov. 21 2012 10:42 AM

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