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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:03 AM

Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win

http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/07/inside-the-secret-world-of-quants-and-data-crunchers-who-helped-obama-win/#ixzz2BtgkevAw

That data-driven decisionmaking played a huge role in creating a second term for the 44th President and will be one of the more closely studied elements of the 2012 cycle. It’s another sign that the role of the campaign pros in Washington who make decisions on hunches and experience is rapidly dwindling, being replaced by the work of quants and computer coders who can crack massive data sets for insight. As one official put it, the time of “guys sitting in a back room smoking cigars, saying ‘We always buy 60 Minutes’” is over. In politics, the era of big data has arrived.

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win (Original post)
eridani Nov 2012 OP
Beartracks Nov 2012 #1
99th_Monkey Nov 2012 #2
catbyte Nov 2012 #4
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #5
ProudProgressiveNow Nov 2012 #26
muriel_volestrangler Nov 2012 #6
Coyotl Nov 2012 #15
muriel_volestrangler Nov 2012 #19
99th_Monkey Nov 2012 #22
Qutzupalotl Nov 2012 #20
99th_Monkey Nov 2012 #21
Blue4Texas Nov 2012 #23
postulater Nov 2012 #3
demhottie Nov 2012 #10
Coyotl Nov 2012 #16
Blue4Texas Nov 2012 #24
Baitball Blogger Nov 2012 #7
mzteaze Nov 2012 #8
Doodler71 Nov 2012 #9
Coyotl Nov 2012 #17
Johnny2X2X Nov 2012 #18
ProfessionalLeftist Nov 2012 #11
Purrfessor Nov 2012 #12
Johnny2X2X Nov 2012 #13
Coyotl Nov 2012 #14
Blue4Texas Nov 2012 #25
ProudProgressiveNow Nov 2012 #27

Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:36 AM

1. Incredible. Using science in the campaign! n/t

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:40 AM

2. Big Data, including "the work of quants & computer coders who can crack data sets.."

hmmm. and just how sophisticated might these "computer coders" really be? ... sophisticated
enough to block Rove's e-voting "fix" in OH and FL? One wonders about such things. Especially
with the specter of Rove's meltdown on live FOX TV, like "OH NO! This CANNOT be right??!!"

Did Anon Unhack the vote?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/12512340

I was floating this wild card guess the other day, speculating that the infamous "Anon" might have
"unhacked" the vote .. i.e. just monitored it enough to block anyone from bugging the numbers.

There are 2 problems with this theory: 1) A high improbability factor regarding any alliance between
Obama (think Monsanto, drones, etc.) and Anon (think Occupy, non-violent direct action, etc.), and
2) I'm no techie, and don't know even if this would be technically possible. Some have insisted that
it is not possible, while other in the know say otherwise, and I'm still wondering about this.

It's like there's GOT to be an important "back story" here, that's begging for speculation & inspires
curiosity, for me at least. ~cheers
69

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:02 AM

4. I've been wondering too because they all seemed SO SURE that

Romney was going to win, right up to Queen Ann and her party hair & King Mitt having no concession speech prepared. They seemed so shocked. I swiched to Fox-PAC right after MSNBC called Ohio and watched in awe as I saw Rove's dance of denial. Were they all really that deluded or did they think the fix was in? Who knows all I know is I've been happy happy happy since about 11:15 Tuesday night.

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Response to catbyte (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:39 AM

5. My brother was wondering who was winning

I kept telling him that Obama was winning. He watch's mostly CNN, I watch CNN a little, MSNBC and non of Fox except I taped Fox to see their faces if they lost. What I told my brother about CNN was that they lie just like Fox and you could tell because a 3 point lead was considered a tie to them a 5 point lead was slightly ahead. They did this every day in the last 2 weeks, a little common sense would tell you who was winning.

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Response to catbyte (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:08 PM

26. +1 nt

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:06 AM

6. What do you mean by "unhack"? Do you mean they took the computers over to show the 'right' count?

That would be 'hacking' too. Do you mean they did a thorough audit of the computers' security systems and beefed them up beforehand so they'd be proof against a hack by the Republicans? Pretty damn unlikely they'd do that and no-one notice. Do you mean they launched an attack against the computers that they somehow knew would be used to launch an attack against the election computers? That would imply an immense knowledge of the Republican plan (and that the Republicans did it remotely, rather than by having physical access to the machines).

The skills of coding analyses of large datasets are completely different from those to do with computer security. It would be like saying "that man know how to write scientific textbooks - I bet he's a great con artist". Both may involve language, but that's about it.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:34 AM

15. "Unhack" is a new word in the English language

"Unhack" refers to creating an equally implausible theory to prop up an initial implausible theory when the first implausible theory collapses in upon itself due to irrefutable evidence indicating its falsehood. Hack, in this sense, refers to to chop down, to cut up, to severe, to destroy, as facts often do to implausible theory.

To "unhack" is to paste all the pieces of the humpty back into a dumpty

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:53 AM

19. I did have the idea of 'piecing things back together' when I was writing

A lot of hacking is destructive - denial of service, or breaking the security and then doing very obvious things - replacing the front page of a site with an antagonistic message. The 'hacking' that people claim is tried on voting is subtle alteration of records - more like the financial fraud cases. And I can't see that 'Anon' would have the skills or opportunity to counteract that.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:34 PM

22. Like I said, I'm no computer geek

but that doesn't mean I don't have a hand-full of fascinating questions
about election night 2012, that I love exploring on DU, and will continue
to do.

Thanks for the mini-lesson on the likelihood of 'unhacking' the vote.

By definition and by design, I don't know WHO "Anon" is, but I do know
he/she knows a thing or two about computers and hacking; and he/she
put this out right before election day, directed at Rove & Co.
&feature=player_embedded

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 12:01 PM

20. Ohio would not have been enough to win.

There was a suspicious patch illegally installed on tabulators there shortly before the election. It is possible that it could have been used to alter the vote totals, but doing so would not have won them the presidency and might have exposed certain people to legal jeopardy. Some might risk prison to make Romney president, but who would sacrifice themselves just to narrow the margin of loss?

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Response to Qutzupalotl (Reply #20)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:27 PM

21. Good point

I heard about those "patches" too, and was concerned, esp. when some lunatic judge
ruled it was just fine.

But this point is well made: once it was clear that Obama didn't even need Ohio, then
it changed the cost/benefit calculus of the GOP cheaters, in terms of "why do it if we're
loosing anyway?"

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Response to Qutzupalotl (Reply #20)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:32 PM

23. Exactly, it is possible they would cheat

If Obama's margin of win was small

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:53 AM

3. Yes We Quant! Yes We Quant!

2016 campaign slogan.

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Response to postulater (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:54 AM

10. :-)

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Response to postulater (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:39 AM

16. "2012 - Get Real"

Realism won over the surreal, science won over mythology, math won over instincts and biases, geeks and nerds won over Luddites, reality won and Richie Rich Fantasyland lost.

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #16)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:33 PM

24. And guts lol

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:44 AM

7. Where can I buy a t-shirt that says, "Fuck you Koch Brothers,

I bought the president for $225.00!"

I'll tell you what got me started answering those e-mails. It was the night Obama lost miserably to Romney in that first debate. Yes, I know it was all style and no substance, but the fear that we might have a Republican presidency by January opened up the purse strings. I knew Obama was better than that performance and I wanted to give him the time he needed to redeem himself.

He can thank me later.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:03 AM

8. Very very good read

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:44 AM

9. I love nerds.

I worked until last july as a data analyst, statistician, and computer programmer, people don't like to accept facts all the time. They especially don't like it when it tells them something they don't want to hear. They will play all sorts of reindeer games with numbers trying to shoe horn their belief in the same box when it clearly doesn't fit.

This is a big score for that scary scary science!

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Response to Doodler71 (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:47 AM

17. Oh, the awesome power of numbers and data

It is interesting above all else on this front, the triumph of science! How the unbelievers cripple themselves by their very basic assumptions about reality.

If first you do not believe in science, how do you put science to work for you? They create their own handicap! If they see this, they might start accepting science instead of believing things.

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Response to Doodler71 (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:48 AM

18. I am a nerd

I work in a large Engineering group and although almost everyone I work with are Republicans I can tell you this, their analytical minds didn't allow them to fall for the Mitt is winning meme. It was just as obvious to these other engineers that Mitt was losing all along as it was to me. Scientific thought is a strength.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:15 AM

12. Contrast the Dem stratgey with the Rep secret weapon ORCA program...

which was a colossal failure.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:24 AM

13. Advantage Dems

The Democratic Party will always have an advantage in science and accepting new technologies. Sure the GOP can hire experts, but the Dems will have an advantage in this too seeing as science is just more universally accepted on our side of the fence. We're better at hiring scientists, because it's common practice for us.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:26 AM

14. "..the analytics team had polling data from about 29,000 people in Ohio alone — a whopping sample.."

a whopping sample that composed nearly half of 1% of all voters

“We ran the election 66,000 times every night,” said a senior official, describing the computer simulations the campaign ran to figure out Obama’s odds of winning each swing state. “And every morning we got the spit-out — here are your chances of winning these states. And that is how we allocated resources.”



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Response to Coyotl (Reply #14)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:34 PM

25. Wow!

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:08 PM

27. Great read. NT

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