THOUGH there has been a plethora of publications on strategies that show how President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in the just concluded United States (U.S.) presidential election, none has been revealing as that by the one in the control room.
The Obama campaign manager, Jim Messina, who spoke in Washington recently said the three perspectives with which the campaign viewed the electorate, gave him a deeper understanding of “how we are doing, where we are doing it, where we are moving – which was why I knew that most public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous.”
According to the Obama campaign’s director of opinion research, David Simas, who provided the The Huffington Post with more details about the sources of polling data, the Obama campaign did not conduct a nationwide survey.
Simas stressed the campaign team relied on its lead pollster, Joel Benenson, at regular intervals throughout the campaign, to survey voters across “11 battleground states” which included Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.”
Benenson was responsible for conducting battleground polls once every three weeks during the spring and early summer of 2012, every other week during the late summer and twice a week for the final two months of the campaign. These messages were used to test messages and to glean overall strategic guidance, but not to make individual state assessment, reported The Huffington Post.
Simas said the campaign conducted “state-specific” tracking polls on a similar schedule, which were aimed at gauging the battleground states.
According to him, the surveys which were conducted by a team of Democratic pollsters helped drive message testing strategy but also tracked the standings of both Obama and Romney in every state.
Simas also said the campaign conducted a parallel survey by its internal analytics workers, to help “create and refine” its microtargeting models and to provide more “granular analysis” of voter subgroups. He added that the surveys used interviewers, very large sample sizes and very short questionnaires, which focused on vote preference and strength of support, with no more than a handful of additional substantive question. “During September and October, the campaign completed 8,000 to 9,000 such calls per night,” he said.
The Obama campaign also relied “exclusively” on samples drawn from the official list of registered voters. According to him, these lists allowed for a different approach to reaching cell-phones-only voters because in some states voters provided phone numbers when they register and list vendors attempt to match names and addresses to mobile and landline numbers culled from commercial data, “but they also come with shortcomings, such as voters listed without phone numbers,” he said.
Benenson said the campaign team took time to, at the initial stage of the election, look at historical trends in the battleground universe, adding that they drew on past exit-poll data as well as models produced by internal analytics team.
Culled from GUARDIAN