Editorial Reviews. From Booklist. From political reporter Issenberg comes this very interesting look at the way political consultants and professional vote-getters . We've seen it in sports, and now in The Victory Lab, journalist Sasha Issenberg presents the untold story of the analytical revolution upending the way political. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jun 23, , John Sides and others published The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.
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The Victory Lab by Sasha Issenberg - Excerpt - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. The book Politico calls “Moneyball for. UPDATED FOR THE ELECTION The book Politico calls “Moneyball for politics” shows how cutting-edge social science and analytics. The question of whether the winner was really that good, or the loser really that bad, rests at the heart of Sasha Issenberg's The Victory Lab: The Secret Science .
Sep 11, Minutes download.
Sep 17, Pages. Sep 11, Pages.
Sep 11, Minutes. Renegade thinkers are crashing the gates of a venerable American institution, shoving aside its so-called wise men and replacing them with a radical new data-driven order. Armed with research from behavioural psychology and randomized experiments that treat voters as unwitting guinea pigs, the smartest campaigns now believe they know who you will vote for even before you do.
Issenberg tracks these fascinating techniques—which include cutting edge persuasion experiments, innovative ways to mobilize voters, heavily researched electioneering methods—and shows how our most important figures, such as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, are putting them to use with surprising skill and alacrity.
The Victory Lab follows the academics and maverick operatives rocking the war room and re-engineering a high-stakes industry previously run on little more than gut instinct and outdated assumptions. Provocative, clear-eyed and energetically reported, The Victory Lab offers iconoclastic insights into political marketing, human decision-making, and the increasing power of analytics.
Issenberg has a firm grounding in the political universe. A timely, rare, and valuable attempt to unveil the innovations revolutionizing campaign politics. This is a terrific and important book. With vivid portraiture and crystal-clear prose, he takes us beyond the charge-and-counter-charge, the rallies and stump speeches, to show us the hidden persuaders.
Blinded by Political Science 2. A Game of Margins 3. So if you're the campaign manager you don't do anything different. If you follow the rule book strictly they can't blame anything on you. Instead they develop more specific typologies, such as the one from Times Mirror: Eleven percent of American adults were found to be fully, and seemingly permanently, detached from politics; Times Mirror called them Bystanders.
But telling them that a large number of other people are doing it increases their chances of doing the same. This approach, developed by social psychologists to encourage general prosocial behavior, translated well to get-out-the-vote programs.
This has led to vote overestimates for African-American candidates. Researchers found they could get more accurate estimates by asking prospective voters if they thought their neighbors would vote for an African-American.
This approach worked as " I would be a more valuable book if some of the biographical information were removed in favor of more detailed description of campaign tactics and statistical procedures. As written, it gives a sense of these techniques and how they are used. More detail is needed, if not in this book, then in a companion volume that is more methods-oriented. Paperback Verified download. Politics has evolved over the last 50 years from a spray and pray approach to campaigning to a much more data and demographically driven approach.
Using various measurements and statistics, political campaigns are able to use rifle shot precision to target those voters that are most likely to swing an election result with a message that will resonate. The book discusses this approach in detail - in fact, too much detail.
Some of the history - especially the early days through the campaigns - is interesting. The remaining parts of the book - taking the reader to the election - becomes redundant and bogs down in names and seemingly endless and forgettable small vignettes and names of data scientists and rehashed approaches.
There is very little actionable here for most political scientists. It is more of a history than a how-to. Probably a useful read for someone fascinated by the subject, but for the casual reader, the book gets quite dry after the first pages.
Hardcover Verified download. Very telling on how many campaigns waste money on things because they are easy for consultants to do, but gain very little support for your side.
While showing how the things consultants don't want to do because they are hard and the consultant can't make tons of money at do add a lot of support to your side. For anyone interested in elected politics, this book is a must read. The author presents a very detailed discussion through the use of anecdotes of the efforts by presidential campaigns and the major political parties to build massive data bases on american public and utilize the data to manipulate the public into supporting their candidate or cause.
The author explains how memberships, store loyalty card information, credit card download history and countless public information has been compiled into data bases by the political organization so as to micro target voters using complex computer algorithms to predict voting booth behavior.
While the content is interesting, the pace of the book is painfully slow. There are so many different stories about so many different data bases and computer models that the book becomes difficult to comprehend and follow. I would not recommend this book to anyone who is short of time and looking for a quick information upload book. Man, this a tough but fun, fun read. In telling the story of the scientific and intellectual development of academic Political Science and professional political operators you meet more characters than in a Russian novel.
I am on my second time around, this time underlining and making notes. We begin in the twenties with the first true study of voter behavior and end up with the fascinating data mining that aided Obama's victory. Issenberg is a good story teller, able to weave narrative strands over decades and campaigns. This will become a standard text for those who love the art of politics. One person found this helpful. This book really brought a lot of things full circle for me.
I dabbled in the election as a 20 year old still the best time of my life and it reminded me of how so much of my empirical prowess came from tutorials with the Iowa Voter File Manager. I dabbled in field organizing, and coalition organizing too even! It's experiences in my own life, yet Issenberg helps me reflect on how impactful they were with his authenticity and comprehensiveness.
It's truly the handbook I wish I had been given 5 years ago to understand how unique of a moment I was in. It's also refreshing how well he traces the topic from s Ivory Tower disciplinary squabbles to transit buses in Akron, merging the academic with the tactics, all the while hoisting up the dedication and curiosity of so many individuals without whom this revolution seemingly would not be the same.
The 'strivers' are all so quintessentially American that you really just have to smile about how great a political journalist he is! See all 92 reviews. site Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about site Giveaway. This item: The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. Set up a giveaway.
It allows just about anyone involved to take credit for good results or attribute blame for poor ones, confident of never being proven wrong. After a positive result on election night, everything a winning campaign did looks brilliant. When a campaign loses, consultants usually blame the candidate or the moment — and there rarely seem to be professional consequences for those who had set the strategy or tactics.
Longevity, as well as the aura of wisdom that comes from it, is a political operative's most valued trait. But the new profession hums along on a mixture of tradition and inertia, unable to learn from its successes or its failures. The tools available to campaign operatives can do little to explain what makes someone vote — and few of the people toiling inside campaign war rooms seem disturbed by this gap in their knowledge.
The first stirrings had come a decade earlier, in the wake of the presidential vote, which shifted on election night from a contest between electoral strategists to a tussle among lawyers. What seemed at the time to be a low-stakes election would have a major effect on the way campaigns were waged.
The narrow, almost accidental quality of George W. Bush's victory — decided by votes in Florida, or really just one on the Supreme Court — provoked a reexamination of where votes come from.
Seemingly small boosts of two or three percentage points quickly became indispensable components of a victory formula, and the intellectual hierarchy of thinking about campaigns changed accordingly.
Turnout, the unsexy practice of mobilizing known supporters to vote, could no longer be dismissed by campaign leadership as little more than a logistically demanding civics project to be handled by junior staff or volunteers. Campaigns could not obsess only over changing minds through mass media. Each side has its own sobriquets for the intellectual rebels — Karl Rove boasted of his "propellerheads" and Rick Perry's campaign of its "eggheads," while those on the left were happy to call themselves "geeks.
Suddenly, the crucial divide within the consulting class is not between Democrats and Republicans, or the establishment and outsiders, but between these new empiricists and the old guard. The latter can be found in both parties, and it was a constellation of new-guard academics and political consultants on the left who had mastered the psychological tool used in the Colorado mailer.
Six years before, one of them had first had the idea of ominously reminding citizens that whether or not they vote is a matter of public record. In the next few elections, the language and presentation had been refined through serendipitous collaboration unusual in politics, flowing effortlessly between operatives and academic researchers who previously had neither the opportunity nor inclination to work together.
Functioning in a growing laboratory culture, they had jerry-rigged a research-and-design function onto an industry that long resisted it. And by the summer of , they had perfected the politics of shame. It was only a matter of time before a desperate campaign, or interest group, would summon the audacity to deploy it.
A sign hanging on the wall neatly summarized the self-satisfaction Malchow felt at moments like these: All progress in the world depends on the unreasonable man.
He had spent more than three years obsessing over the technique he had used in his mailers.
He had pored over the scholarly research that supported the use of what psychologists called social pressure, and he had finally persuaded the liberal group Women's Voices Women's Vote to overcome its fear of a backlash and send out letters to Colorado households likely to support Bennet but requiring an extra push to get to the polls.
The research had begun five years earlier. In , a Michigan political consultant named Mark Grebner — whose glasses, stringy parted hair, eccentric polymathy, and relentless tinkering earned him comparisons to Ben Franklin — had written to two Yale political science professors who he knew were interested in finding new ways to motivate people to vote.
The next year, they collaborated on an experiment in Michigan in which they sent voters a copy of their own public vote histories, along with their neighbors', and a threat to deliver an updated set after the election. It was marvelously effective, increasing turnout among those who received it by 20 percent. But no candidate or group wanted to be associated with a tactic that looked a lot like bullying — and a bit like blackmail.
How to muffle such a potent weapon so that it could be used in the course of regular campaigns became an obsession of the Analyst Institute, a consortium quietly founded in by liberal groups looking to coordinate their increasingly ambitious research agendas. The Analyst Institute was a hybrid of classic Washington traits: the intellectual ambition of a think tank, the legal privacy of a for-profit consulting firm, and the hush-hush sensibility of a secret society.
But its culture derived from the laboratory. The Analyst Institute was founded on a faith in the randomized-control experiment, which had migrated in the middle of the twentieth century from agriculture to medicine as a unique instrument for isolating the effects of individual fertilizers and vaccines. Social scientists later adopted field experiments, transforming research in everything from credit-card marketing to developing-world economics.
Around , such experiments found their way into politics, with voters as their unwitting guinea pigs. Over a decade these "prescription drug trials for democracy," in the words of Rock the Vote president Heather Smith, have upended much of what the political world thought it knew about how voters' minds work, and dramatically changed the way that campaigns approach, cajole, and manipulate them. The Analyst Institute's founding director, a psychologist named Todd Rogers, always liked to remind people that these behavioral science interventions couldn't alter a race's fundamental dynamics.
No technique could do that; a good candidate or a bad economy would still set the conditions of an election. But experimental insights could decide close races — by nudging turnout up two points here, six points there — and none has proven as powerful and promising as Grebner's social-pressure breakthrough. It took three years of trial and error by academics and operatives, including Malchow, until he settled on softer, more friendly language — thanking people for having voted in the past as opposed to threatening them if they didn't in the future — that delivered impressive results in a randomized experiment.
During a test conducted during New Jersey's gubernatorial elections, such a letter had increased turnout among voters who received it by 2. Through other tests, Malchow had found that many political messages were most effective when delivered in understated white typed envelopes, as opposed to multicolor glossy mailers, and so he packaged the Colorado social-pressure letters in a way he hoped would resemble an urgent notice from the taxman.