Did It All Come Down To Data?


Could it be possible that our country was sold down the river to the communists over data? Sure, there are indications of voter fraud, and we had the purists who refused to show up and vote for Romney. But could those problems have been overcome if only we had better data? It’s possible.

In the days leading up to the election the Romney campaign was proudly touting its state of the art “ORCA” GOTV program. It turned out to be a spectacular, colossal failure.

So the deputy campaign manager apparently didn’t have sufficient staff to handle the massive internal communications load necessary when dealing with an organization of 37,00 volunteers using customized software that had never been adequately field tested. Anyone could anticipate trouble in such a situation and yet, before Election Day, a Team Romney spokeswoman was bragging on TV about how 800 volunteers in Boston were going to run this awesome ORCA operation…

On top of that, there were also the clueless campaign consultants.

November 2012 wasn’t a clean Barry Goldwater conservative defeat or a Bob Dole moderate defeat: The Republicans ran a moderate-liberal Mormon candidate on a conservative platform. Which ideology they decide to blame will play out over the next couple years and will be nasty. But we’re going to out a different factor: The tyranny of the political consultants.

We’re talking about the guys who go with gut feelings. The ones that make the calls on polling, TV advertising, direct mail. The old-fashioned ones with decades of experience, who put their finger in the air and shoot from the hip while the Democrats talk to their data nerds and take careful aim. On Tuesday, the Democrats didn’t just pull the trigger — they squeezed it. (Read More)

The Romney campaign relied on these guys for data to direct how they ran the campaign in the days and weeks leading up to the election. But they were relying on faulty data, and they lost. Mitt Romney and his team were just as shocked by the election results as we were.

In a way this is good news. The GOP just needs to hire better nerds (and recruit better candidates) and they’ll stand a chance. But by the time they figure it out it could be too late.

Update: Not that the voter fraud wasn’t a pretty insurmountable obstacle.

Update: More from Red State:

But the failures in what was described as a “tightly wound consultant culture” didn’t stop there.

Stu Stevens of the Stevens and Schriefer Group was said to not be chasing poll numbers with the media buy strategy and appeared instead to be doing little more than “throwing darts at a dartboard.” At best using false numbers provided by ORCA; at worst milking the cash cow of the Romney campaign.

Most of the more public players, like Andrea Saul and Gail Gitcho, were doing their jobs as adequately as possible given that the apparently the poll numbers, ground operations & virtually all statistics and data involved with GOTV efforts were inaccurate. However, players like Richard Beeson, Romney’s Political Director, are said to have spent the first half of the year “traveling state to state settling scores” instead of doing crucial campaign preparation.

According to all the sources I spoke to, the breakdown of the campaign can be traced to the primaries. One source saying “they looked at the guy who could raise the most money in history as a ride” adding that “money no longer matters. That’s the problem,” also referring to the campaign overall as “the biggest political flim flam of all time.”

Read the whole thing. If this is true none of those consultants should ever get a job on a campaign again.