Welcome Sasha Issenberg (TheVictoryLab.com) (Slate.com) and Host Christina Bellantoni (ChristinaBellantoni.com) (PBS NewsHour)

The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns

Why do we vote? Why do some stay home? And with the right persuasion techniques, can the political industrial complex manipulate those patterns?

These important questions are at the heart of a new book exploring the science behind campaigning, because for all the hullabaloo made over television ads, this election will be won and lost by the ground game.

The Victory Lab, The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns, by journalist Sasha Issenberg, has been called the Moneyball of politics. It takes readers into the minds of pollsters and field operatives to reveal some of the tactics behind getting-out-the-vote.

In the book and his Slate blog of the same name, Issenberg explores how the campaigns reach voters and makes sure they show up.

“The science on turnout has gotten a lot better. We don’t know a whole lot more about what makes you change your mind or how you change your mind than we did a decade ago. We know a lot more about what can motivate to actually cast a ballot,” Issenberg told the PBS NewsHour in September.

This is Issenberg’s second book. Learn more about The Sushi Economy and the 2013 release of The Engagement, on the decades-long political and cultural battles over gay marriage.


[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

65 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sasha Issenberg, The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”

BevW October 27th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Sasha, Welcome to the Lake.

Christina, Welcome back to the Lake, thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

BevW October 27th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

For our new readers/commenters:

To follow along, you will have to refresh your browser:
PC = F5 key, MAC = Command+R keys

If you want to ask a question – just type it in the Leave Your Response box & Submit Comment.

If you are responding to a comment – use the Reply button under the number,
then type your response in the box, Submit Comment.

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hi everyone! Thanks for joining us today. Looking forward to chatting with Sasha. We’ll be back in just a minute with my first question.

dakine01 October 27th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Sasha and welcome to FDL this afternoon. Welcome back Christina

Sasha, I have not read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but how does this “science” account for the difference between those who are just plain apathetic about voting (low information voters or otherwise) and those who are attempting to “send a message” by their failure to vote and participate?

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for having me, Christina. I’m glad to be with you all for a chat about The Victory Lab and the science of campaigns.

Bamalaw October 27th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Is there a possibility that the old ways of polling people just aren’t accurately reflecting the amount that microtargeting may be influencing the turnout?

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

Hi, dakine01. That’s a great question.

I’m not sure campaigns are terribly worried about making this distinction, because I’d imagine the “send a message” crowd ultimately represents a tiny share of the electorate.

But if a campaign did want to sort non-voters into those categories, I think they’d look for people who statistically resemble voters but do not plan on casting a ballot. They’d rank voters according to what they call “turnout propensity,” which is a microtargeting assessment of an individual’s likelihood of voting It tends to be based primarily on how often one has voted in the past. So people with high turnout-propensity scores look like the type of people who vote. If someone who campaigns have identified through this process as looking like a voter tells a canvasser or pollster that he or she is unable to vote, that would probably indicate that they’re more of a send-a-message type than purely apathetic.

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I’m going to start with what’s obviously in the news. A lot of Democrats I know are in full freak out mode and are on the road volunteer canvassing for Obama in battleground states.

Knowing what you know about the strategies these campaigns are deploying, Sasha, what type of voter is the most important for Team Romney and Team Obama to be reaching in the next 10 days?

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:12 pm
In response to Bamalaw @ 6

I wrote a little bit about some of the methodological differences between public polls and the private ones that campaign use for strategy earlier in the election year for Slate, and I think you’ve identified a huge limitation on the value of the polls we’re seeing now from media and academic organizations.

They rely on respondent to predict whether or not they are likely to vote. But we also know, thanks to randomized field experiments, that campaigns can have a big impact on increasing someone’s likelihood of voting through smart mail or canvassing. Why would we expect citizens to be able — sometimes months before an election — to calculate the impact that campaigns will have on their behavior when they finally set out to mobilize people to vote?

HotFlash October 27th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

To which I would add, who should Team Green be targeting? Or Team Justice, Libertarian or Constitution?

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

In recent days we’ve seen a lot of scary ads from the Obama campaign reminding people how close it was in Florida, etc. Which voters are they trying to reach with the 537 ad (http://youtu.be/3Gj8Ut6E0cA) in particular, and do you think it’s effective?

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Overwhelmingly the focus of both campaigns should be on mobilizing what they call their “GOTV targets.” These are people who have been identified or are predicted to like the candidate or align with the party, but are infrequent voters. The campaign’s focus now is on getting them to do something they’re not used to doing: turning out to vote. A lot of media attention may be on undecided voters, but frankly there aren’t that many people left for either campaign to persuade.

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

So here inside the Beltway, there’s a lot of chatter about the dude with the momentum being the likeliest victor. Are voters really motivated by this? Is there a sense of people wanting to back a winner?

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Thank you for joining us this evening (right coast time, of course), Sasha and Christina.

Following on from dakine’s question, @4, Sasha, is there any consideration given to expanding polling beyond questions about the legacy party candidates and, possibly, even the third party candidates, to the possibility of including any “sampling” of the once very popular “none of the above”?

Or does that “option” render moot the entire scientific approach?

Is the purpose of such polling as you speak of this evening, to permit “feedback” to the political class, thus allowing “honing” the “approach”, as if voters were “niche markets” or to allow “the people” to gain a sense of what they, those whom the political class wish to “impress”, are thinking if, indeed, they are actually thinking, or thinking about thinking?


Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I’m glad you flagged that spot, because it struck me as very interesting from a behavioral-psychology perspective.

One of the things we’ve learned from all these experiments that both campaigns and academics have run is that a lot of the old ways of trying to convince people to turn out — by emphasizing what a privilege the right to vote is, and how few people exercise it — don’t have a whole lot of power when tested in the real world. The stuff that works usually makes voting sound popular, and tries to inject a little bit of peer pressure: Democratic canvassing scripts now regularly talk about how high turnout is expected to be.

So this is trying to make a different case to non-voters about the value of voting: that every vote counts. It’s a hard argument to make, because most of the time every vote doesn’t count — which is why Obama has to reach back 12 years for an example that the campaign thinks will resonate. We’ll see if that has the same psychological potency as a universal nudge to go along with the crowd.

HotFlash October 27th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

What about voter’s confidence that their vote will be correctly tabulated? I would expect that to be a factor in non-voting, but I don’t see it being addressed by either of the front-runner parties. Do you find that people are assuming their vote will be correctly counted? Do any of the polls take that into account, or is that the business of party strategists?

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
In response to HotFlash @ 16

Somewhat related, I voted early today in Washington, D.C. A bunch of the machines were broken, considered doing a paper ballot but stuck with it. The machines have definitely gotten better in showing you what all your choices were and making sure you’re ready to confirm them or giving clear instructions on process for changing them.

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:31 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 14

Well, different types of surveys serve different purposes. Campaigns aren’t interested in polling “none of the above” unless that’s an option on the ballot.

Many media surveys, especially those from major institutions like the NYT and WSJ that go out into the field every month, aren’t designed to track the horse race as much as broader public opinion. They’ll survey all adults about presidential approval, the state of the economy, right track/wrong track, so that they have a consistent set of data to compare in off-years. In those cases, the polltakers are broadly in what you call “‘feedback’ to the political class,” even when it’s coming from non-voters.

BevW October 27th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Saturday Night Live – The Undecided Voter

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

And to HotFlash’s point about third party candidates … do these fancy techniques need a lot of money behind them? Or is it just about brain power?

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Hey, HotFlash. This isn’t exactly on the mistabulation front, but we do know that many first-time voters in particular aren’t convinced that their ballot is secret — and that may be one reason that contributes to their non-participation.

A 2010 experiment conducted by Alan Gerber, along with some of his colleagues at Yale, increased turnout among first time Connecticut voters by sending registrants a letter emphasizing that no one else would know which candidate they selected, and that it was the job of the secretary of state to maintain that secrecy.

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:39 pm
In response to BevW @ 19

That SNL video is great fun — and happens to be pretty close to the truth, as best we know. When pollsters or analysts label late-deciders “low-information voters” it often means that the people in question know very little about government and politics. You get the sense many of them would fail a citizenship test if it were put to them.

But these know-nothings aren’t the only kind of undecided voters. I put together a typology of a dozen different categories of undecideds for Slate in the days before the Iowa Caucuses.

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

So then really, if things are not on the ballot, which access is, coincidentally, controlled by the controlling “parties”, then, quite naturally, there is no “effective demand” for its inclusion?

From a strictly non-scientific perspective, Sasha, it seems that many important topics, then, perhaps critically important ones, which in our time that might include something like “global climate change”, for example, or even widespread public “disenchantment with public policy, say wars, or economic woes, simply are not on the political “radar screen” at all.

Does that not, then, put everyone, but especially the political class, which includes the media, in the position of not noticing a “perfect storm” when it is brewing, building, and about to make “Homeland” fall?

Are we sampling opinion or understanding?

And is there perceived to be any difference between those two things, so far as the political class, specifically the “two parties”, are concerned?

In other words, what are those parties actually prepared to hear?

Is it a case of what they want to hear … or what they need to hear?


Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Political scientists have talked about a “bandwagon effect,” with voters flocking to a winner, and many people in campaigns believe that it exists. But the Obama 537 ad you linked to obviously goes the other way: trying to instill panic that Obama is on the cusp of losing a close race.

So the candidates may have differentiated themselves more on behavioral psychology than Iran policy or healthcare mandates: one candidate is trying to encourage non-voters to join the crowd and back a winner, while another is looking to scare apathetic backers into thinking that every vote counts.

Which do you think looks like a more effective tactic for getting infrequent voters to schlep to the polls or request a mail ballot?

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Scaring people works or they wouldn’t do it, right? One thing I’ve found interesting in my reporting over the last few weeks is the young people who liked Obama in 2008 but are now pissed off at him are planning to stay home. So it’s not like he’s losing them to Romney. But from a long-term perspective, that’s not good for the Democratic Party.

Arun Chaudhary October 27th, 2012 at 2:51 pm


How many election cycles until we can officially call the 30 second political TV ad dead.

Asking out of personal and professional interest!
Arun Chaudhary

TarheelDem October 27th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

One of the huge issues in US political culture is that politics has been reduced to marketing and consumer choice of pre-packaged options. The evidence is strong that that means of political communications is not working to produce prudent social choices because the background political discussions that used to occur, without reference to talking points or even ideology, no longer are occurring. This is not a new trend. It’s professionalization started with Edward Bernays runs through the Eisenhower “toothpaste” ads and Nixon staged town meetings on through today’s micromanagement of images and messages.

Is there a way out of this box for ordinary citizens, away from DC culture, who seek to make their thinking known? Or is the campaign machinery so deeply entrenched that it will take a major catastrophe to shake political discourse out of its grasp.

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Money and brains are both barriers to entry when it comes to running smart modern campaigns, and in many respects that fact keeps the parties relevant: they can serve as repositories of data, keep the talent in place for analysis, and then provide it as an asset to select candidates.

For third-party candidates this suggests a big hurdle needs to be cleared. You definitely some money to gather data and analyze it as part of a microtargeting project, and that’s an investment that is worthwhile only if you’re going to spend enough money on your campaign to take advantage of the efficiencies it offers. And you need to put together a team of people to make sense of it all, which is tough since most of the top political data analysts work for partisan institutions or firms.

But for a third-party candidate who can get beyond that, microtargeting offers a real opportunity to put together nontraditional coalitions, since you can develop a profile of voters that goes way beyond their party registration, whether or not they show up for partisan primaries, and how their precinct has voted in the past.

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Frankly, it would seem that the political class has little respect for the intelligence of the people, if it may be imagined that the “bandwagon effect” is widely operable.

When it is considered by the “two parties” that a little fear here and a little fear there, will “motivate” voter response then it appears that manipulation rather than informed understanding is sought.

My background is in psychology, Sasha, and I was taken aback to discover that Mitchell and Jesson were the principle “architects” of the Bush-Cheney torture regime, so it seems that social scientists involving themselves in “shaping” public “perception” might, just possibly, be a form of “straying” a wee bit away from advancing understanding and approaching the “engineering” of “consent”. Have you any thoughts or concerns about that?


Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Do you see down-ticket senate and Congressional races using the same tactics you write about in the book?

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to Arun Chaudhary @ 26

Arun, I think you this right in your book (have been meaning to write about this on Slate, in fact): the length no longer has to dictate the form or content of ads. So we see web video that is shorter than 30 second but finds an audience, especially in social media, and much longer video that is compelling enough to sustain viewer interest.

There is something that is keeping the 30-second format alive, though. Campaigns now have the ability to match online viewers to their voter-registration records through cookies, which means that campaigns can target pre-roll campaign ads as specifically as they do direct-mail pieces. So the delivery mechanism is radically different, but the aesthetics don’t seem to have changed much: the content that campaigns are using as pre-roll ads, on sites like Hulu, look to me a whole lot like conventional broadcast TV spots.

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

If these pissed-off people are infrequent voters, I don’t think Obama’s campaign thinks it will mobilize them by making the case for Obama or for Romney. The campaign will be looking for some way to increase the social benefits that come with voting — or raise the cost of non-voting.

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Let me add to this question … so when I’m on my work computer in Virginia trying to watch Mat Kearney YouTube videos, and an Obama attack ad runs, is that because I’m in Virginia or because they are trying to target me? Or are they trying to target fans of catchy romantic songs?

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Many of the psychological devices I write about in the book are basically no-cost improvements to existing canvassing scripts and GOTV mail programs. The Analyst Institute — a influential but largely unknown research consortium on the left that I describe in the book as acting like a cross between a think tank and secret society — has done a very good job of distributing knowledge of its experimental finding all the way to down-ballot candidates and other allies on the left. (Nothing similar exists on the right.)

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

My hypotheses for why you’re seeing that ad:

(a) the campaign has, using offline data and microtargeting models, identified you as a persuasion target and is using cookies to serve you ads, in the same way that they would send you that same anti-Mitt message by mail

(b) the campaign has, using polling and online-behavioral modeling, profiled voters who are persuasion targets — let’s say, white women between the ages of 25-45 — and bought ads against content they consume in certain Virginia ZIP codes

(c) when you went to Obama’s own site, the campaign dropped a cookie on your browser and is serving you ads that way (although it would be unlikely that if you mucked around Obama’s site the campaign would still consider you a persuasion target)

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

When “voting” is the primary or only “act” permitted the people in an ostensible “democracy”, and when that “voting” amounts to “consent” as in “consent of the governed” … and that “consent” is manipulated by fear or enforced by “cost” … then we are not very far, if we are honest, from a tyranny of calculation.

Considering that political parties, in this country, are private entities which seek to “influence” public policy and the public, with the desire of controlling public policy, then it ought not be surprising that controlling the people, the public, is the real and actual aim of those private political parties.

At some point, the “interests” of the political parties, say of wealth and assured “success” in pleasing the wealthiest “constituents”, will diverge drastically from the interests of the people in concerns for THEIR well-being and success.

Frankly, that principle divergence began thirty and more years ago, from my perspective and with the clever “inputs” of “science” it would seem that such divergence, and the devastating results of inequality, the suspension of the Rule of Law, and suppression, as we see in HR 347 and the treatment of OWS, will only accelerate, quite drastically, in the foreseeable future, as Obama says, “looking forward”.

What do you see, Sasha, when gazing into your crystal ball, are we really headed in that direction?

If so, does it give you any pause?


DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 3:18 pm

What do you mean when you use the term, “the left”, Sasha?


Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

So breaking news that the NYT (unsurprisingly) endorses Obama for a second-term.

Do newspaper endorsements matter at all?

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

The Analyst Institute was incubated by the AFL-CIO, along with other labor unions, women’s groups like EMILY’s List and environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters. In the last couple of years, AI has seen much more participation from partisan institutions and campaigns, including the DNC and now the Obama reelect.

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

This is a really hard thing for experimenters to test, because you can never get newspapers to hold back from endorsing or randomly assign their influence to different cities.

But in the book I write about the decision by Rick Perry’s top adviser, Dave Carney, not to have the candidate meet with any Texas editorial boards in his reelection campaigns, even if it meant sacrificing a lot of endorsements he may have been able to earn. Carney had seen some straightforward polling in which voters said that they didn’t care about endorsements; in some cases, Perry’s polls showed that Republican voters said they would be less likely to vote for the candidate endorsed by the local paper. (This was definitely true of Harris County Republicans and the Houston Chronicle.)

Carney’s decision to blow off ed boards was shaped as well by the knowledge that it sucked a lot of time out of Perry’s schedule: preparing for the sessions, often being briefed on hyper-parochial concerns, and then traveling to spend a couple of hours with a small group of editorial writers. Carney knew from other experiments the campaign was able to run, with the help of four academics he called “the eggheads” — including tests that randomized Perry’s travels and television/radio ad buys across the state over three weeks in January 2006 — that the candidate’s time was valuable and probably best spent elsewhere.

BevW October 27th, 2012 at 3:32 pm

A 2010 experiment conducted by Alan Gerber, along with some of his colleagues at Yale, increased turnout among first time Connecticut voters by sending registrants a letter emphasizing that no one else would know which candidate they selected, and that it was the job of the secretary of state to maintain that secrecy.

I’ve heard that Obama (and others) are using data to persuade “undecideds” by mailing out information on how their neighbors voted, by house / name. How is this protecting votes as “secret”?

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 3:34 pm
In response to BevW @ 41

Excellent question, Bev. Serious, as well, considering principle, trust, and all “that”.


TarheelDem October 27th, 2012 at 3:37 pm
In response to BevW @ 41

Please tell me how they are determining how a person voted. Just because they got a commitment in a canvassing call does not mean that they indeed followed up and voted that way. And if the neighbors were to talk and discover that the campaign’s data was incorrect, that would sort of undercut the pressure, wouldn’t it?

bigbrother October 27th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Thank you for enlightening me on how the process of campaigning is guided and the tools they have at hand. Especially interesting to me a Jill Stein voter is how weak third party is without the sampling tools and the rest skills sets developed by the consultants. A wake up call…wonder if the Green Party is tackling this. Here Dems worked the neighborhood of registered Dems to get them to the polls I am in a blue area and to progressive for my Dim friends.

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 3:40 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 43

Those thoughts went through my mind as well, TD.

However, even the suggestion that it was “known” how others voted, should be concerning to anyone who sees good reason to appreciate and defend the notion of a “secret” ballot … even if it is just a pushed button that causes some electrons to “dance” …


BevW October 27th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 43

From my knowledge, it is from voter rolls – I do not have the details.

In Virginia, you are marked on the master check-in list as a D or R and given a card to stand in line to vote (I believe, or by the draft ballot from the front of the building).

TarheelDem October 27th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to BevW @ 46

In NC, that was the way that the myth of Jessecrats was born. D’s who did not vote D.

That seems a risky tactic to me.

spocko October 27th, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Hi I haven’t been able to read you book yet, but one of the things that is very distressing to me is knowing that hundreds of millions of dollars are going into RW election efforts, which I KNOW will happily look at and exploit the various scientific studies to help their side win.

One area is the language used. Do you cover some of the focus group testing of various phrases and words used by campaigns and how they impact people who might be voting?

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 3:45 pm
In response to BevW @ 46

And it is presumed, apparently therefore, by whoever makes use of those rolls that whatever “affiliation” one is “marked” as having that the markee “owes” her/his vote to the “mark”?

Most interesting.

Cut and dried.

Simple stuff.

Thank you for the added information, Bev.


Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
In response to BevW @ 41

Many campaigns are sending citizens copies of their vote histories — which list the elections in which you have or have not cast a ballot — along with their neighbors’, as a way of nudging them to turn out.

Psychologists call this “social pressure” and behavioralists have demonstrated its power in other aspects of human life. In the first experiment in which academics tried to translate that mechanism to politics, they found it increased turnout by those who received such mailers by 20 percent.

Still, though, your ballot remains secret, so campaigns have no way of knowing which candidate you selected. Whether or not you cast a ballot, though, is very much public — and campaigns have used it for years as a way of deciding which voters to target. The mailers have such impact is because many citizens don’t fully appreciate this distinctions, so letting them know they can be judged as good or bad citizens tends to nudge them towards what people consider good behavior.

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Is that “pressure” then a part of the “cost” you mentioned above?

To the non-voter, that is, Sasha?

Might we call that the “Tribal Appeal and Identification” ploy?

Or the “Cohort Coercion” method?

Does it have a scientific name or designation?


karenjj2 October 27th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

welcome to firedoglake, Sasha. although much of the information you provide seems geared toward analyzing effective promotion of politicians, could your analysis be used to help design effective campaigns to promote specific ideas or causes?

for example, California campaign to label food that contains GMO’s is being drown out by monsanto’s millions of dollars in TV ads that make false claims about the labeling being promoted.

spocko October 27th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Another question:

The hundreds of millions of dollars are raised to by Television ads, of course the people who make ads and sell ad space think that that is the way to go. Yet are they really that effective or are the buyers just TOLD they are effective because they can make more money on commissions? (and I do know that the Republicans don’t fall for this anymore, I understand they take a flat fee vs. a percentage of the ad buy that democratic consultants still charge.)

TarheelDem October 27th, 2012 at 3:51 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 44

You need all these sophisticated sampling tools because it is a top-down campaign that does not depend on local knowledge of volunteers. And it requires sustained effort between elections to get ready for the next one–which is how parties leverage the efforts of individual candidates.

BevW October 27th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

Sasha, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and new campaign methods.

Christina, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Sasha’s website and book (The Victory Lab)

Christina’s websites (Christina Bellantoni) (PBS NewsHour)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Andy Greenberg / This Machine Kills Secrets: How Wikileakers, Hacktivists, and Cipherpunks Are Freeing the World’s Information; Hosted by Kevin Gosztola

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

My last question for you, Sasha.

As mentioned, I voted today.

Do the campaigns know that? And are their operations sophisticated enough to stop wasting their time on me?

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

A most interesting, and informative Book Salon.

Thank you, Sasha and Christina.

Thank you, Bev, as always,

Thanks to all freedom fighters.


Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 51

Yeah, I think it’s fair to say being exposed as a non-voter raises the cost of non-voting — the inverse of the way that telling people that a lot of their neighbors will turn out offers social benefits to voting.

Sasha Issenberg October 27th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

In most states, the campaigns can get lists of those who voted early, or have even requested mail ballots, and use them to update their voter files daily. So this will be a good test of the campaigns: which ones stop wasting money on trying to persuade or mobilize you? which ones keep sending you mail, calling, knocking on your door, or showing you web ads?

The lesson in this: if you want to get off phone banks’ call lists and canvassers’ walksheets, the best thing to do is vote as soon as you can. (If you’re in a non-early-voting state, the best alternative is not to avoid those callers and canvassers but tell them that you’ve made up your mind and are certain to vote. They’ll want to stop wasting time and resources on you right away.)

Christina, thanks for running traffic, and Bev for putting this all together. Thanks, FDL, for having me.

Christina Bellantoni October 27th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thanks all — super interesting conversation. Have a great weekend.

HotFlash October 27th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Now *that* is truly interesting! Seems like that is an area where Help America Vote could actually, um, you know, help America vote. (sorry for delay in responding, had to break to put some food on my family — will catch up now)

seabos84 October 27th, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I’m having a hard time thinking this Analyst Institute is doing much more than figuring out how to slice and dice so the Third Way New Dem Blue Dog DLC Clinton 0bummer sell outs can keep their jobs selling us out.

When I was a 6 night a week 12 beers a night 20 year old cook in 1980, I could tell that Raygun’s lies had appeal to people. Here we are, 8 years after “Don’t Think Like an Elephant”, and 1 of the biggest messages is that Rmoney-Cheney-Palin-Perry-Brown-Rick-Walker is a lying thieving right wing nut … YAWN. wow, really? Unlike the crap campaigns of Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry with the typical “We’re Noblerer, Smarterer, Gooderer!” … we got the fear factor.

I’ve known for decades that the righties were liars cuz they were theives, and, how the f’k could they steal if they told the truth? Oh yeah, how the f’k could they steal if they weren’t good at lying? Duh?

So – if someone can sell shit policy which screws over 80% of the population so that the 1/2% and their toadies can stay on top living large -

how come out of those tens of thousands of communication and marketing and psych majors a year. no one can figure out how to market the fact that someday, maybe someday soon, those butterfly wings will flap and we’ll have the same kind of parks, libraries, schools, roads, sewage systems, water systems, health security, job security, retirement security and housing that 3 or 4 or billion living in squalor have?

As a teacher for 8 years, the right wing f’king lies about school employees outta Arne Duncan and his privateers would … are … making Roger Ailes proud.

BUT – it isn’t possible to make people despise AHIP execs or Wall Street thieves – or – the rest of that top layer of scum from the sewage tank of big league American management, dedicated to avoiding responsibility and accountability —

so we all can have the opportunity to be doormats, catchfarts, back scratchers, boot lickers, ass kissers, cannon fodder and serfs!

To hell with the Analyst Institute.

rmm, seattle.

karenjj2 October 27th, 2012 at 4:33 pm
In response to seabos84 @ 62

wow, seabos, great rant! thanks!

DWBartoo October 27th, 2012 at 5:33 pm
In response to karenjj2 @ 63

I’ll second that, karenjj2.

Well and truly said, seabos84!!!


juliania October 27th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Many, many thanks, folks. You know who you are.

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post