The big question for American politics in 2014: will this year’s electorate look more like 2012 or 2010? If the former, Democrats have a shot at holding on to the Senate and might just outperform expectations in House races, too. If it’s the latter, however, Dems are doomed — in today’s political environment, an older, whiter electorate will elect Republicans in droves.
With that reality hovering over the political system, the Post’s Dan Balz dives deep into the Democrats’ data-driven attempt to reshape the off-year electorate into something more friendly to their candidates:
Meanwhile, Democrats are banking on the belief that they can better identify potential supporters, motivate them and get them to the polls â€” in essence, reshape the midterm electorate to make it look more like the electorate in a presidential year. To try to do so, they will for the first time fully employ the sophisticated tools and techniques used in Obamaâ€™s presidential campaigns to aid Senate and some House candidates.
It’s an excellent piece, well-sourced and full of specifics about the players and the tools they’re using. No mention of that old shibboleth of political data reporting — the mythical targeting-by-magazine-subscription that shows up too often in stories in the mainstream media. Instead, we get plenty of talk about the essential functions of a political campaign and how data is reshaping them. The 1-to-100 voter score gets a shout-out!
We’ve covered this ground before, of course, particularly in a couple of recent TechBytes columns (here and here), but this is by far the best treatment of the Democrats’ data-driven 2014 campaign I’ve yet seen in the mainstream press. Nice work!