Campaign Decision Makers Conference

This article from Slate discusses some key points revelead during Harvard’s Institute of Politics Campaign Decision Makers Conference. (They released the audio here).

Not only did Obama’s camp always consider Romney the lead, but they also used three different polling methods to ensure they were getting the most accurate information on what people in different states were thinking. According to the combined polling information, they were then better informed and able to hone their message more precisely to what people wanted to hear more about – Romney’s camp only used one poll.

Further, Obama’s camp understood the importance of social media. The camp concluded that “99 percent of the people the campaign contacted by email voted for Obama.” So they decided to talk to more people directly – through Facebook, as well as e-mail – over 33 million people.

Further, David Axelrod discussed the advantage of Obama not going through the primary. For example, Romney had to make “Faustian bargains” to win the Republican nomination, he would not have necessarily wanted to make for the general election, but he could not recall his promises.

Further, the Obama campaign didn’t pay much attention to legacy journalism. “‘It just becomes a big horse-race story,’ said Axelrod of the campaign coverage, ‘and you guys don’t even know where the horses are.’ (Wait, this is a race of horses?)”

I commented on Columbia School of Journalism’s Post Industrial Journalism report in my blog entry entitled: “Survival of the Legacy.”  A point I will stress, especially in connection with campaign strategy though, is that legacy journalism will not completely go away. It is needed to formally and officially correct social media reports that do not have validity. The horse-race/he-said-she-said aspects are old-school and often critiqued, but journalists can and should dismiss blatant lies.

Further, in regards to our in-class exercise where we ran campaigns for 2016 – the NYTimes, championed many of the ideas Team Hillary proposed.

  • A new book – however, they suggested this would serve as her “exit interview.” Where we would have placed her on a TV show to discuss her work as Secretary of State, they suggested the book would serve that purpose.
  • The Times believed Clinton must keep talking about women, even thought it’s a topic everyone knows she supports. “Telling Mrs. Clinton not to focus on women would be like ‘telling Al Gore not to talk about the environment,’ said Paul Begala, a longtime adviser to Mr. Clinton.”
  • Further, the article’s end agreed with Team Hillary by recognizing that speculation works to her advantage. She can keep herself relevant and safe, by having others discuss her possibilities and future.

I’ll add, that I think Bill is an advantage to Hillary, as he can say what she cannot. He can be the blunt, Biden-esque figure. In fact, after the Benghazi fiasco, Bill was the first to mention that Hillary had asked for added security and had been denied by Obama. Only then did Obama and Hillary admit to this. I believe there would have been negative repercussions had Hillary said this herself to begin with, but it was necessary to know. 

Further, one last legacy-type event… the PBS program that Hillary has already interviewed with should be made into a docu, focusing on her life. It would be a natural progression that could air and be watched by those who care – stressing things she wouldn’t necessarily do in a more overt way.  

Further, the Christie Team’s idea to use social media for campaign fundraising was great – but I still think there is benefit to this person-specific app for Smartphones and tablets that Team Hillary proposed – that could answer questions, shoot out information (which the person could determine what the information was, fun facts, political facts, etc…), and ask for money in the same personal way Obama’s e-mails did. There has to be an advantage to seeking the people out, making them feel part of the “village.” 

Here, I have stated that social media and legacy need to work together. The best thing from the Columbia report, I believe, was that overarching idea that journalists continue to be formerly trained, so that they engage in investigative reporting and use networking/access to produce top stories – but that reporters “float” so to speak between different overarching institutions. In this way, the information everyone needs can be disseminated through many different outlets, reaching a vast majority of people. 

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Benjamin A Simon Election 2012 Blog

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