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Can Data Mining Win a Presidential Campaign?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the greetings-citizen dept.

Government 124

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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124 comments

not needed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41147827)

ron paul just says logical arguments and listens to what people have to say.

Re:not needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148235)

ron paul just says logical arguments and listens to what people have to say.

And how is that working out for him?

Re:not needed (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 2 years ago | (#41150811)

ron paul just says logical arguments and listens to what people have to say.

And how is that working out for him?

We'll let you know once he gets started.

Re:not needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148935)

ron paul just says logical arguments and listens to what people have to say.

That is why he doesn't do well with the American electorate.

Re:not needed (1)

Sean (422) | about 2 years ago | (#41150527)

I'd rather talk about Ron Paul than either of these clowns. I can't tell them apart anyway.

Re:not needed (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41150659)

The skin tone should give 'em away. And I hear one of them is kind of a nice guy.

An election this close? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41147839)

I don't think the polls are accurate. Is it the mainstream media that is pushing this notion that it's a close race?

Re:An election this close? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148035)

There is only one authority on how close the election is.

Nate Silver.

Re:An election this close? (2)

lengau (817416) | about 2 years ago | (#41148399)

According to him, Obama has a 69% chance of winning [nytimes.com] , but will only barely get a majority (not even 51%).

Re:An election this close? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41149195)

According to him, Obama has a 69% chance of winning [nytimes.com] , but will only barely get a majority (not even 51%).

NY Times? Isn't that the paper that the last two ombudsmen have called biased? BWA HAHAHAHA!

Try this [cbsnews.com]

Obama has HUGE problems there - after four years in office, he only gets 41% of independents while Romney gets 40%. If you call yourself "independent", and you won't go for Obama after four years, you ain't going for him in November in the polling booth.

Gender gap? Yeah, Obama has a huge problem there - he's down 9% among men.

Likeability? Both Obama and Romney are a bit under water, but Obama has no upside - 32% are undecided about Romney's likeability. Obama's stuck underwater and he ain't surfacing. Romney has just weathered Obama's negative "But what about Bain Capital" crap.

Kind of a shallow poll, too. Wonder what the results would be if they asked who'd you vote for after asking about real-world concerns like gas prices or unemployment.

Oh, yeah, there's one more major issue Obama's going to have to overcome.

Joe Biden.

Re:An election this close? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41149621)

Your CBS data is just a national poll, with numbers nobody is doubting. The Times article looks at a state by state comparison, which is what matters in our electoral system. Maybe the popular vote should matter, but it doesn't.

Re:An election this close? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41149757)

Your CBS data is just a national poll, with numbers nobody is doubting. The Times article looks at a state by state comparison, which is what matters in our electoral system. Maybe the popular vote should matter, but it doesn't.

It's also registered voters, and not likely voters. Dunno what that does to the numbers, though that probably depends on turnout. Which I suspect in 2012 will favor Romney. I bet in 2008 a change from registered to likely voters favored Obama - but there's no enthusiasm at all for Obama this time around.

Re:An election this close? (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#41148481)

I think the race is close, but the percentages are probably fixed. In short, Obama will likely win because certain groups would never not vote for him. Most women, the huge majority of blacks, Hispanics (other than Cubans) and union voters will simply vote for him because they won't vote for a Republican. The Republicans have their own base that will not budge either. There are independents, but they have probably already decided too, or are staying home.

In short, the Democratic base is likely to be slightly bigger than the Republican one, so the Democrats will win, but the actual percentages will be close in an absolute sense. However, that small seeming gap may seem like not much to make up, but I think it might as well be the Grand Canyon because its not going to change.

It is possible to get higher percentages, but you need a team so charismatic that voters just love them (that's not Mitt Romney) or a screw up so extreme that Democrats become disgusted with Obama (unlikely if he doesn't do anything off-script).

The Republicans' next real chance is the next Presidential election, which is likely what the more interesting people like Marco Rubio are waiting on. Without Obama there, the Democratic party doesn't have anyone who I'd consider to be a shoo-in as people like Hillary won't run again. Biden? That would be hilarious, but no.

Re:An election this close? (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | about 2 years ago | (#41148667)

I think the race is close, but the percentages are probably fixed. In short, Obama will likely win because certain groups would never not vote for him. Most women, the huge majority of blacks, Hispanics (other than Cubans) and union voters will simply vote for him because they won't vote for a Republican. The Republicans have their own base that will not budge either. There are independents, but they have probably already decided too, or are staying home.

In short, the Democratic base is likely to be slightly bigger than the Republican one, so the Democrats will win, but the actual percentages will be close in an absolute sense

Which really means it will depend on where the "majority" comes from. Remember, in this country we do NOT vote for president - we vote for electors who vote for president (the Electoral College). A "majority" does not guarantee a win.

Re:An election this close? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41149011)

I think the race is close, but the percentages are probably fixed. In short, Obama will likely win because certain groups would never not vote for him. Most women, the huge majority of blacks, Hispanics (other than Cubans) and union voters will simply vote for him because they won't vote for a Republican. The Republicans have their own base that will not budge either. There are independents, but they have probably already decided too, or are staying home.

In short, the Democratic base is likely to be slightly bigger than the Republican one, so the Democrats will win, but the actual percentages will be close in an absolute sense

Which really means it will depend on where the "majority" comes from. Remember, in this country we do NOT vote for president - we vote for electors who vote for president (the Electoral College). A "majority" does not guarantee a win.

Indeed. Just ask Al Gore. Whatever you think of the Florida 2000 results, he unambiguosly won the popular vote. But, it all came down to the electors chosen for the state of Florida.

Re:An election this close? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41150807)

The election is designed to split the vote as evenly as possible, because if one party gets a super majority they would have to absorb the blame for anything that goes wrong. So, the setup is made to diffuse blame. Both factions can keep their power over any usurpers from an opposition party. The democrats act just evil enough and the republicans just crazy enough to keep each other out of trouble with too large a majority. Win-win for both. They are not in any kind of opposition. And we just go along.

Re:An election this close? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148551)

The mainstream media figured out that a close race is the most profitable kind of race because more people will be watching their 24/7 coverage of it, so they will attempt to skew opinion towards keeping the race close, with hit pieces against the front-runner and fawning over the underdog. (They don't even really care who wins.) They've been doing this since at least 2004. You're never going to see a Mondale-v-Reagan-style blowout again unless the underlying media economics change.

Re:An election this close? (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41148853)

Media is trying to be objective, for the most part. If they start saying Obama is going to win on a landslide, or Romney has the ticket in hand. (especially this early on in the election cycle) the news coverage could effect the final outcome. The media trying to keep objective may seem like they are saying it is a close race. But a close race is good, it means both sides will go out and vote more.

But can data mining help win. You bet.
A candidate has only limited resources, they need to be placed in smart locations, towards the right people.
For example. Republicans will go to Texas, and Democrats will go to California or New York for fund raisers, but they will do nearly all their campaigning in swing states. So for us people who live in a solid color state, we really don't matter unless we have a lot of money, because we are stupid enough to vote for the same party every time no matter who is running.
But for the swing states they get all the political love. The president will try to keep these states happy while elected and Challengers are going to push for new things that effect those states.
Now with better data mining they will find better targets If they hold a rally outside a major city vs. inside it. Which towns are better then others. Who are the demographics there so not to piss them off. The ones with the better data has the advantage.

The political nuts, who favor one side or the other, often see the moderate, swing vote as people who don't care, are are uninformed (mostly do to your political stance is My Way is the right way, the other way is only due to corruption, because why else would they think of an opposing view if their thinking wasn't corrupted) The moderate group has the same normal distribution of intelligence, and normally would like to listen to both sides and then weigh their personal views with what the other is saying.

Re:An election this close? (5, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 2 years ago | (#41150331)

a close race is good, it means both sides will go out and vote more.

Participation is good, and insofar as a close race raises participation, that's good. But I don't agree that a close race is necessarily good, not when one side has gone bonkers. I'd like to see the Republicans put out of everyone's misery, and replaced with another party, they're so damned crazy anymore.

Republicans have fallen a long, long way from the party of Lincoln, the party that stood proudly against slavery, while the Democrats talked of maintaining the status quo and trying to compromise, of wimpily avoiding the horrors of war at all costs. Would've been nice if the slavery issue could have been resolved without a savage war. The South knew they could not win if the North was determined, yet they started the war anyway, vainly hoping the North would back down. That was never going to happen, not after the first battles threw the North's manhood into doubt!

There was a time when the Republicans were the sober, prudent, well grounded, fiscal conservatives, firmly tied to facts and sound scientific reasoning, and the Democrats were the woolly thinking, misty-eyed fools would thought they could do such things as declare and win a War on Poverty. Those were Republicans I could vote for.

Now the Republicans are the delusional fools. They paint a seemingly lovely picture of the way the world and America was, and seem unable to face reality and the present. They act like it's still the 1950s, still Happy Days. Nice fantasy, for older white men perhaps, but dangerously wrong. But they press on, favoring actions based upon the thought that 1950's America is still with us now. They've cranked up the production of delusional "facts" to frightful levels. They've turned against the very science they used to cherish, becoming scarily contemptuous of it. This denial of Global Warming is just one of many anti-science efforts they've sullied themselves with. Even on fiscal matters, they've blown it. The War of Choice in Iraq was a huge, huge expense. They refuse to consider any kind of health care whatsoever, even those plans that would reduce all our expenses and get us better health care. They won't hear of even just closing tax loopholes to solve these budget issues that have so exercised them lately. They don't say it outright, but what they promise is to take America back to the paradise of the 1950s, if only we will elect them. The most damnable thing is, that in many ways the world of today is way, way better than those "good" old days they recall so fondly. I'm not crazy about the Democrats, but voting for this screwball Republican party is absolutely out of the question.

Re:An election this close? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41150633)

I am not saying I disagree with your assessment of the Republicans (I do think they have gone too far to the right). But if there is an impression of a close race, and you think the republicans have gone nuts... You really should go out and vote for the democrats. If they told you the Democrats will win by a landslide, you may not vote because you figure your vote will not say anything. If they told you the Republicans are a sure bet, then you may not vote but take your time building a bomb shelter, or prepping for a wold you really don't want to see.

But just as matter of reference when Bush was president I heard a lot of crazy stuff coming from the Democrats, some overtly zealotry left crazy ideas that ignore even the most principal areas of economics.

Re:An election this close? (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41150557)

Media is trying to be objective, for the most part.

No, media is trying to get ratings.

The political nuts, who favor one side or the other

They're all nuts. The Ds are nuts for thinking that Obama isn't yet another authoritarian crony capitalist (or for voting for him anyway). The Rs are nuts for thinking that more authoritarian crony capitalism is the solution to the problem caused by authoritarian crony capitalism. And the moderates are nuts for seriously considering not one, but two authoritarian crony capitalists.

The only sane reaction is the George Carlin [thinkexist.com] reaction.

Re:An election this close? (1)

Shagg (99693) | about 2 years ago | (#41151623)

Media is trying to be objective, for the most part.... the news coverage could effect the final outcome.

What makes you think the media doesn't want to effect the final outcome?

Intelligence winning elections (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#41147845)

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.

Re:Intelligence winning elections (2)

KillaBeave (1037250) | about 2 years ago | (#41147987)

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.

Re:Intelligence winning elections (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41148071)

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

Re:Intelligence winning elections (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148207)

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.

Re:Intelligence winning elections (3, Informative)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Intelligence winning elections (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41148517)

So I did a Google and came back with "$6 billion election | Reuters" That's mental.

Re:Intelligence winning elections (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#41148895)

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.

Re:Intelligence winning elections (2)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#41151987)

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 declared that he could win without one. He has one anyway - it was set up on his behalf, whether he wanted it or not. However, it has only raised something like $40M vs. $800M between all the super PACs for Romney.

I'm undoing mods to post this, but people need to be clear on what the problem is if we're ever going to have a hope of fixing it.

Re:Intelligence winning elections (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148891)

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.

Re:Intelligence winning elections (1)

Thorodin (1999352) | about 2 years ago | (#41149369)

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."

Re:Intelligence winning elections (3, Insightful)

Idbar (1034346) | about 2 years ago | (#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:Intelligence winning elections (3, Interesting)

Thorodin (1999352) | about 2 years ago | (#41149395)

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!'"

Re:Intelligence winning elections (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#41148213)

>> 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?

Re:Intelligence winning elections (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 2 years ago | (#41148501)

Would it have any affect on the electoral college?

Re:Intelligence winning elections (1)

skids (119237) | about 2 years ago | (#41149547)

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.

Racist False Advertising Wins Campaigns (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41147905)

Mitt Romney is counting on a barrage of false advertising, much of it with obvious racial undertones to win the election.

America is a racist country, filled with idiots. All the former slave states which serve as a sewer for the nation's racists will definitely go for Romney, and his racist campaign.

The only real question is whether Romney will remind all Americans of their inner racist.

That an whether Americans are dumb enough to blame the Republican party's racism on those who dare to oppose it.

Oh the irony (2, Funny)

Ollabelle (980205) | about 2 years ago | (#41147907)

So Romney is outsourcing Republican party functions too?

Re:Oh the irony (1)

_Lint_ (30522) | about 2 years ago | (#41148051)

Outsourcing to a private company. What's wrong with contracting out jobs?

Re:Oh the irony (3, Funny)

Hillgiant (916436) | about 2 years ago | (#41148711)

It's the next logical step. They have outsourced the military, legislation, and regulation.

Re:Oh the irony (3, Funny)

Jodka (520060) | about 2 years ago | (#41152309)

So Romney is outsourcing Republican party functions too?

Yes, according to what I heard, they do no do it themselves, someone else makes it happen.

In Romney's case, no. (3, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#41147943)

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).

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | about 2 years ago | (#41148153)

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.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Interesting)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

garcia (6573) | about 2 years ago | (#41149503)

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 most?

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

Machtyn (759119) | about 2 years ago | (#41152761)

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-your-neighbor-a-democrat-obama-has-an-app-for-that [propublica.org]

Re:In Romney's case, no. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148223)

I think Romney won the election because of Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan is not extreme, even though the Democrats will try to paint him that way. We have entitlement programs going bankrupt that need to be reformed. Paul Ryan has plans to save the country. A lot of his ideas come from working with Democrats. He's just a budget guy who has common sense program that can cut the spending, reform entitlements, simplify the tax code, get a better energy policy, remove excessive regulations, etc. It is all quite reasonable. If we hit a debt crisis, the cutbacks would be much more severe than what he proposes.

The election is about how many people are uninformed and think Paul Ryan is extreme versus how many people realize that truth that it is common sense conservative / libertarian policies. Extreme will be the most commonly used word at the Democrat convention, you can bet.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148313)

Well, we don't have to paint anything. He believes in the same level of abortion rights as Akin. We just have to quote him and prevent you from etcha sketching.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#41148319)

A lot of his ideas come from working with Democrats.

I am not aware of an example of that happening. Paul Ryan votes with his party far more often than not - and far more often than many others. Can you provide an example of him "working with Democrats"?

And yes, I know I am replying to an AC, and hence likely won't see a reply (or if I do see a reply it may well not be from the same person) but as the statement was made, I'd like to see an example.

Extreme will be the most commonly used word at the Democrat convention, you can bet.

Nevermind that "socialist" - and variations of the same - will be the most common word at the GOP convention. A solid argument could be made for "extreme" being a much more valid label for Ryan than "socialist" for any politician who has been elected to the presidency in the past half-century.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148383)

I would imagine for the same reason that they chose Sarah Palin last time.

Because understanding what the people want has nothing to do with it, choosing someone who represents their genuine underlying far right beliefs has everything to do with it.

You're assuming there was any kind of rationale behind both these decisions, but that idea is betrayed by the fact that the furthest right elements of the Republican party, who now seem to be the controlling element of the Repulican party, are in any way rational.

It's the disconnect between the Republican governance structure which is very much far right picking Ryan/Palin, and the people, who voted for the right, but not far-right Romney, and previously McCain. Effectively the controlling elements in the party no longer even closely represent the views of the people who support the party. Republican supporters are mostly right wing, the Republican power structure is, in contrast, far right.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148509)

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 says about the mind-set of the GOP. 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'm pretty sure we're screwed.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Interesting)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (2)

dpilot (134227) | about 2 years ago | (#41150089)

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?

Re:In Romney's case, no. (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#41150877)

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 have fielded a trained monkey and still would have had a reasonable chance to win), and I suspect Romney might be miscalculating as well. Even if he wins and decides to become a moderate, I doubt the tea-party and social conservatives will let him. If anything, I'm pretty sure they'll pull out the mandate approach GWB had, and just try to turn the US into a Baptist utopia.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Interesting)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#41148861)

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.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Informative)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 2 years ago | (#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)

Re:In Romney's case, no. (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#41149685)

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 elsewhere are making the difference.

A Democrat has not won the presidency for over 60 years without winning PA.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (2)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 2 years ago | (#41150157)

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 opportunities as well as problems, but the Republicans seem to be doing their darndest to alienate (sometimes literally) all the up-and-coming blocks. If they don't watch out, they may find themselves a party of the deep south and unpopulated central-tier states only.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | about 2 years ago | (#41151433)

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 fits very well into our election scheme.

That said ... I think the EC made sense at the time it was thought up, but the system's been modified and gamed so much that now it's a very strange entity that the electorate doesn't understand and doesn't work as originally intended. Direct popular election might be the way to go, but there's other systems out there as well.

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.

No, concentrating on a few select locations will absolutely still happen ... but it won't be the same states as before. It probably won't even be whole states. You're forgetting the impact of advertising markets.

You see, candidates only have so much money to go around. They have to spend their money and energy where it will make the most difference. So places where their $1M TV ad will reach more voters (especially if those voters are undecided or likely to swing) will get more focus by the campaigns.

My theory is that campaigns will have to broaden their reach in some ways, and tighten their focus in others. Spend a little money and time everywhere, but spend a lot where it matters.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (0, Troll)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41148661)

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.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#41148777)

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 him. That forced them to use the same 'fix' they did last time with Palin. They had to add someone to the ticket motive conservative voters.

What they *should* have done if they really were set on winning this election is run Ryan on the top of the ticket and softened his positions by adding a candidate like Romney or McCain as a VP pick.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148989)

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.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#41149155)

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. His best hope now is that those groups don't show up at all, but that is not likely. Much more likely is that he just gave all the swing states to Obama.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 2 years ago | (#41151031)

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 paying an illegal, to get his house dusted.

Romney will win the election (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#41149235)

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-Romney advertizing by various groups independent of his campaign - anyone, any PAC or business can take out an ad.

After the nomination, check the proportion of pro-Romney advertizing versus pro-Obama.

I think you'll find that a fire hose of predominately Romney advertizing will change a good many opinions.

Re:Romney will win the election (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41149421)

unlikely that any financial shenanigans will come to light.

They already have. He didn't pay income taxes for ten years.

Re:Romney will win the election (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#41151025)

That was just Reid being Reid, and giving Romney and the GOP a big, fat middle-finger.

No, the reason that Romney is not revealing his taxes prior to 2011 is because of something called the FBAR. Judging from how aggressively Romney pursues tax shelters, I'm dead sure that a lot of the foreign accounts he had where specifically designed to hide money from the IRS. When the US started to move aggressively against such tax shelters, those accounts got squeezed - hard. Few reputable banks wanted anything to do with hiding money anymore, especially from Americans. And when in 2009, the IRS offered a limited and expensive amnesty to people with such accounts, Romney decided to pay the fine and make his money legal. That process would have wrapped up with the 2010 tax forms.

That's 100% speculation on my part, but it's the only reason I can see why Romney isn't releasing more tax releases prior to 2011. There has to be some sort of political suicide in those tax forms, and being labeled a tax cheat is probably as close to a death sentence as you can get in politics (short of banging someone other than your wife, I supposed).

This is America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41151157)

This is America. No one gives a crap if Romney didn't pay income taxes for ten years. They will just invent alternate "truths" where he did pay and his opponents are lying, or where it was heroic of him not to pay, or where Obama is much worse. If Fox, Limbaugh, and Beck repeat it often enough, it becomes true!

Chinese outsourcing scandal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41149899)

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, simply because it's cheaper than paying the same tax rate as the rest of us.

If Obama wins the rich will pay taxes like the rest of us, if Romney wins they keep their tax breaks. So it's not a donation to a candidate, it's an investment in a tax reduction. Not the same as before.

Re:Romney will win the election (1)

tbannist (230135) | about 2 years ago | (#41151373)

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 else holds the same), you can expect to capture an additional 1% of the popular vote. If that's right, then you can buy an election, but it's very expensive unless you're already a contender.

I agree. Thanks for the reference (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#41152249)

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 interesting. If (as I suspect) Romney has around 10x the campaign money as Obama, that accounts for a little over 3% of the popular vote (three doublings of spending). Would that be enough to give Romney the election?

(I don't care for either of them - this as just an intellectual exercise.)

Re:In Romney's case, no. (3, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | about 2 years ago | (#41150285)

> 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.

Re:In Romney's case, no. (1)

firewrought (36952) | about 2 years ago | (#41151521)

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 over the long term) will be much more manipulable even at the late stage of the game. A focus on Romney and a media-blitz to counter Ryan's negative connotations will soften the damage done with Independents. The Republican leadership is banking on increased Republican turnout surpassing the losses from Independents and increased Democratic turnout.

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.

Yes, but it's Obama's election to lose. Anything that happens between now and then that gets blame/reward heaped on the Oval Office could swing the election suddenly. (For instance, you can bet that, outside of New Orleans, nobody is more worried about the levies than Obama's election manager.)

Re:In Romney's case, no. (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#41152757)

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 vote just because they want Obama out so badly. Romney could have picked any of them, or even one of his own sons, and done just fine with the base.

However, they won't get the independents back to their side. They may have been able to pick up some of them had they chosen a moderate VP candidate, but they went the other way. It's Christmas in August a the White House right now...

Yes, but it's Obama's election to lose.

True, but even an Al Gore sized failure wouldn't be enough to drive the independents away and into the far-far-far-right that Paul Ryan represents. A huge failure might cause some people to sit out the election, but it won't push them to the other side.

(For instance, you can bet that, outside of New Orleans, nobody is more worried about the levies than Obama's election manager.)

If New Orleans floods again, Obama just needs to show up to do a better job than GWB. It is nearly impossible to fail more miserably on it than what we saw 7 years ago.

Is there no end to the spam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41147971)

Anyone with money and a low profile wants it to stay that way. The sign at the gate will now say, no trades men, no door to door and no begging politicians.

'wealthy and previously untapped' donors (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 2 years ago | (#41147993)

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.

Get around to found a new republic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148015)

Reform what you are currently calling "Land of the Free" and your entire culture around elections.

If you can consider to change the polictics with data mining,something is horribly, horribly broken on a very fundamental level.

Wealthy and previously untapped... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148021)

That's how I like my women ;)

Can Data Mining Win a Presidential Campaign? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148053)

The answer is no. Not when you have fellow party members legitimately raping your campaign.

Turnout, not undecideds, will determine election (3, Interesting)

mveloso (325617) | about 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Turnout, not undecideds, will determine electio (2)

afeeney (719690) | about 2 years ago | (#41148321)

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.

Re:Turnout, not undecideds, will determine electio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41149979)

Data mining is very useful in advertising, which is what gets people to the polls, or, more often, convinces them to stay home.

It's a sad state of affairs (3, Insightful)

zrbyte (1666979) | about 2 years ago | (#41148125)

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

Re:It's a sad state of affairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41150329)

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

Data mining != shaping the public opinion.

Already done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148155)

Redistricting. Let's redraw the lines folks!

While we're at it, let's change the voting laws across the country.

Finance reform (4, Interesting)

Haawkeye (2680377) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Finance reform (-1, Troll)

SumterLiving (994634) | about 2 years ago | (#41148629)

Sorry Haawkeye...but as the CEO of a multi-$billion corp, I am able to massage my corporation's wishes into a coherent platform and take advantage of a better business climate by donating $millions. Then I can crap all over the environment, my workers and customers with a clear conscience. Limiting my political contribution is just plain wrong. In any case, I will still walk away from my position with $35 million. Win-win for me, the company and my country. Good luck with buying your political candidate $1,500 at a time.

Complete Agreement Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41151039)

The current concentration of wealth and political power in the hands of the Board and Executives of a corporation is a throwback to the European feudal system from which the U.S. originally revolted.

The recent Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United vs. FEC is The MOST undemocratic thing to happen in the U.S. since the apportionment clause in the Constitution failed to count women, servants indentured for greater than 2 years or Indians. Oh, then there's the failure to adhere to the Constitutional requirement of at least 1 House Representative per 30,000 of those represented, but we've only been in breach of that Constitutional requirement since the census of 1790 was released.

The State of the (Republican) Union may be strong, but it's respect for a (Democratic) Constitution is weak.

Data mining for dollars from "previously untapped" sources may be futile, but it's certainly not futile. Just review Toqueville's record on Frenchman buying hereditary title and the nontaxable status that went with it.

Romney's career and personal life as they relate to his politics are part of a pattern that revolve around wealth and privilege for the monied class. It's not pretty. But whole system is corrupted by the lopsidedness of wealth and political power. The Bush league tax cuts and repeal of the inheritance taxes are only symptomatic, and so is this this datamining drive.

Re:Finance reform (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41151127)

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.

The answer is no (2)

synackpshfin (1622285) | about 2 years ago | (#41148529)

Even if we don't bring out the Betteridge's Law of Headlines [wikipedia.org] ...
With current candidates I'd say - no.

Pen State Voter ID law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148609)

Of course data mining can win an election. Why do you think Gerrymandering works? To Gerrymander a district they need to know the likely voting pattern.

When the Republicans cut voting hours in Ohio, they needed to know which districts were Democrat and thus which districts should be given shorter voting hours to swing the vote:
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/08/10/670441/ohio-limits-early-voting-hours-in-democratic-counties-expands-in-republican-counties/?mobile=nc

Then there's the GOP's Pennsylvania law, requiring ids their data mining tells them have a strong Republican weighting:
http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/17/judge_upholds_penn_voter_id_law
To choose the id form, they cross minded the different id databases with Republican voters to choose the maximum benefit for Romney.

I don't think it's enough to let Romney win, he's a 1% candidate presented as mainstream and I don't think he's fooled enough people, but certainly in closer races it absolutely IS enough to win an election.

Presidential Big Data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41148897)

So now even the race for the office is a Big Data problem. In the future, the winner always has the biggest clout on clouds of computing.

Obama won (1)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 years ago | (#41149605)

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 Obama?

--

But it doesn't matter who wins, Romney or Obama, the end result will be exactly the same, there is no difference. Actually it doesn't matter who wins right now, even if it could be Ron Paul or Garry Johnson, the coming collapse of the US dollar and bonds is unavoidable. The difference would have been what would happen AFTER the collapse, and with Obama or Romney (doesn't matter) after the collapse either of them would attempt to grow the government even more by completely finishing off the private sector and free market economy, whatever is left of it in USA.

For reference you can see a couple [slashdot.org] of comments [slashdot.org] that give a little more perspective.

Re:Obama won (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41149823)

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Looking for Donors? (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about 2 years ago | (#41150021)

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).

Garbage in, garbage out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41150249)

I started getting mail from Mitt Romney addressed to the former occupants at my address from TWENTY YEARS AGO. If data mining is the answer, they're going to lose. Big time.

Explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41150837)

How is exploiting razor-thin majorities different from all those ebils of "mob rule" that supposedly make "democracy" worse than "republicanism"?

I say you need more parties and less incestuous "stances" between the two, and less of this both the same in all but a name two party system. Government-by-the-people should not be a stupidity contest.

YES IT CAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41153021)

I mean, Yes WE can. How do you think Obama got the last election, by data-mining facebook for key phrases. This article is 4 years too late.

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