Report: Internal analytics gave Obama campaign edge over Romney campaign

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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President Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign was the most sophisticated political organization on the planet, concludes a report by the right-leaning D.C.-based digital strategy firm Engage.

In order to understand the Obama campaign’s technology strategy, GOP strategist and Engage President Patrick Ruffini explained in a company blog post that the firm “set about gathering insights, data, and anecdotes from hundreds of news articles, blog posts, interviews, podcasts, and presentations.”

Ruffini’s report attempts to put to rest any suggestion that the two candidates’ campaign operations were comparable. For example, the report states that the Obama campaign’s analytics team employed 50 people, including an embedded analytics team measuring the campaign’s own internal operations. By comparison, the Romney campaign employed a data team of four people.

According to the report, the Obama campaign also had a so-called persuadability score “that modeled how susceptible an individual was to changing their mind based on campaign appeals.”

In addition, the Obama campaign took seriously the decrease in home landline telephone use, especially among young voters. A critical part of the Obama campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort was focused on reaching constituents through Facebook.

Following the election, information continued to surface detailing the massive size and complexity of the campaign’s digital and data operations, forcing some members of Mitt Romney’s defeated campaign to defend their own efforts.

Conservative analysts and pundits focused their anger at the Romney campaign’s political consultants for profiting from one of the GOP’s most expensive losing campaign seasons in history. (RELATED OPINION: The tyranny of the political consultants)

“In 2016, Republicans can’t afford to fight the battles of 2012,” Ruffini said. “We have to look forward to the future and start preparing now.”

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