Author Topic: Exclusive: RNC Launches New Data-Driven Field Operation  (Read 261 times)

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Offline Once-Ler

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Exclusive: RNC Launches New Data-Driven Field Operation
« on: May 07, 2014, 12:32:31 AM »
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/05/06/Exclusive-RNC-Launches-New-Data-Driven-Field-Operation

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is launching a sophisticated new data program called “Victory 365” to link 200 full-time field staffers with reams of voter statistics. The effort is modeled after President Obama's successful use of analytics to help drive election-day turnout.

The party org will be rolling out the new plan at its spring meetings in Memphis, Tennessee, and was announced late Tuesday exclusively at Breitbart News.

The RNC's plan focuses first on “better data” by investing millions of dollars in its “ONEData” program.

Secondly, it will include new tools like smartphone applications in certain targeted states designed to help voter canvassing by volunteers knocking on doors in battleground states, along with new “query tools” called the “GOP Data Center” and “Beacon” to all 50 states and U.S. territories. The RNC says these tools will help candidates and committees develop analytics-based campaign plans.

The third plank is what the RNC calls “predictive analytics,” which officials say use “data science” to predict voter behavior.

The RNC used predictive analytics in the recent special election to succeed deceased Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), where David Jolly beat Democrat Alex Sink. Officials say the RNC analytics program accurately predicted the election results down to within less than 500 votes. That program can be a useful tool for Republican candidates’ campaigns looking to map out strategies weeks, months, or days ahead of an election while making the tough decisions to determine where to target often scarce campaign resources.

The fourth plank, which fits in with the third, is a user interface tool for campaigns called “Control Panel” and aims to help campaigns be able “to help inform decision making.”

To coincide with the release of this new technology, the RNC has launched a full-time field staff nationwide—something it calls a “permanent ground game.” For the 2014 election cycle, there will be just under 200 field staffers for the RNC in 22 separate states—something the organization said it plans to expand upon in future years. The group noted that 2.91 percent of its staff are permanently in the field, not based in Washington, D.C.

The RNC is moving to what it calls a “precinct-based grassroots organizing structure” where those key staffers work alongside campaigns and help train up volunteers in the states who want to help. The party already has 14,000 such grassroots “precinct captains.” Such grassroots activists will work with the aforementioned technology—like the smartphone apps—to knock on doors and get information from voters that is fed in near-real-time back up the chain into the RNC’s big data centers, where it is updated frequently.

Voters in those 22 states nationwide will soon be getting door knocks from GOP volunteers—and other states in the future—asking them questions about what they think about politics, relevant candidates, and issues that matter to them. The phone apps of the volunteers knocking on doors will be equipped with what the RNC calls “dynamic scripting”—which means the next questions asked after first answers are taken in are actually based off the answers.

The goal, the party says, is to create a more personal line of questioning. Often times, party officials say, volunteers will hold up their smartphones for voters to read the questions off so they feel like they’re a part of the party’s direction. In response to their answers, the RNC and specific campaigns will use that updated data to target specific voters with information—emails, direct mail, and more—aimed at what they are most interested in. If one voter is most interested in healthcare policy, they’ll hear about the GOP’s anti-Obamacare efforts and candidates’ stances on the issue. If another is really into education policy, they’ll get detailed mailers about education. And so on.

“This is the launch of a permanent year round ground game, that will ensure the Republican Party will be competitive for years to come,” RNC spokesman Raffi Williams said in an email. “But our efforts to put our country back on the right track will not be successful without volunteers working hard to ensure that Americans across the country hear the truth about what the GOP stands for and the failure of the Democrats’ progressive policies.”

This all comes as the RNC is launching a couple new initiatives aimed at attracting new voters. Its “14 in 14” program aims to speak to young women under 40 in targeted districts in a manner as precinct captains would, and its “Campus Captains” program seeks out specific organizers in much the same way on college campuses across the country rather than keeping the College Republicans in Washington the focus of that.

Along with the new Victory 365 launch, three new videos are coming out aimed helping with recruitment for volunteers and activists.
A frog trapped in a well does not understand the sea.

Offline Luis Gonzalez

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Re: Exclusive: RNC Launches New Data-Driven Field Operation
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2014, 12:49:06 AM »
ORCA lives?

The earlier manifestation probably cost Romney the election.

Quote
November 08, 2012
The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/334783.php

What is Project Orca? Well, this is what they told us:

Quote
Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.
Pretty much everything in that sentence is false. The "massive undertaking" is true, however. It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we'll get to that in a second). This wasn't really the GOP's effort, it was Team Romney's. And perhaps "unprecedented" would fit if we're discussing failure.


The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they'd begin contacting people that hadn't voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It's worked for years.


From the very start there were warning signs. After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls. The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. There was a lot of "rah-rahs" and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.

Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like "Has this been stress tested?", "Is there redundancy in place?" and "What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?", among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.

On one of the last conference calls (I believe it was on Saturday night), they told us that our packets would be arriving shortly. Now, there seemed to be a fair amount of confusion about what they meant by "packet". Some people on Twitter were wondering if that meant a packet in the mail or a pdf or what. Finally, my packet arrived at 4PM on Monday afternoon as an emailed 60 page pdf. Nothing came in the mail. Because I was out most of the day, I only got around to seeing it at around 10PM Monday night. So, I sat down and cursed as I would have to print out 60+ pages of instructions and voter rolls on my home printer. Naturally, for reasons I can't begin to comprehend, my printer would not print in black and white with an empty magenta cartridge (No HP, I will never buy another one of your products ever again). So, at this point I became panicked. I was expected to be at the polls at 6:45AM and nothing was open. I was thankfully able to find a Kinko's open until 11PM that was able to print it out and bind it for me, but this is not something I should have had to do. They expected 75-80 year old veteran volunteers to print out 60+ pages on their home computers? The night before election day? From what I hear, other people had similar experiences. In fact, many volunteers never received their packets at all.

At 6:30AM on Tuesday, I went to the polls. I was immediately turned away because I didn't have my poll watcher certificate. Many, many people had this problem. The impression I got was this was taken care of because they had "registered me". Others were as well. But apparently, I was supposed to go on my own to a Victory Center to pick it up, but that was never communicated properly. Outside of the technical problems, this was the single biggest failure of the operation. They simply didn't inform people that this was a requirement. In fact, check out my "checklist" from my ORCA packet:


Notice anything missing? My guess is the second "Chair (if allowed)" was supposed to be "poll watcher certificate" but they put chair twice. This was an instruction packet that went out to 30,000+ people. Did no one proof-read it?

So, I headed back home to see if I could get my certificate. I called their official help line. It went unanswered. I tried their legal line. Same thing. I emailed them. No response. I continued to do this for six straight hours and never got a response. I even tried to call three local victory centers. All went straight to voicemail.

While I was home, I took to Twitter and the web to try to find some answers. From what I saw, these problems were widespread. People had been kicked from poll watching for having no certificate. Others never received their pdf packets. Some were sent the wrong packets from a different area. Some received their packet, but their usernames and passwords didn't work.

Now a note about the technology itself. For starters, this was billed as an "app" when it was actually a mobile-optimized website (or "web app"). For days I saw people on Twitter saying they couldn't find the app on the Android Market or iTunes and couldn't download it. Well, that's because it didn't exist. It was a website. This created a ton of confusion. Not to mention that they didn't even "turn it on" until 6AM in the morning, so people couldn't properly familiarize themselves with how it worked on their personal phone beforehand.

Next, and this part I find mind-boggingly absurd, the web address was located at "https://www.whateveritwas.com/orca". Notice the "s" after http. This denotes it's a secure connection, something that's used for e-commerce and web-based email. So far, so good. The problem is that they didn't auto-forward the regular "http" to "https" and as a result, many people got a blank page and thought the system was down. Setting up forwarding is the simplest thing in the world and only takes seconds, but they failed to do it. This is compounded by the fact that mobile browsers default to "http" when you just start with "www" (as 95% of the world does).

By 2PM, I had completely given up. I finally got ahold of someone at around 1PM and I never heard back. From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM. I'm not sure if that's true, but it wouldn't surprise me. I decided to wait for my wife to get home from work to vote, which meant going very late (around 6:15PM). Here's the kicker, I never got a call to go out and vote. So, who the hell knows if that end of it was working either.

So, the end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity's sake.

The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 12:49:37 AM by Luis Gonzalez »
“[Euthanasia] is what any State medical service has sooner or later got to face. If you are going to be kept alive in institutions run by and paid for by the State, you must accept the State’s right to economize when necessary …” The Ministry of Fear by Graham Green (New York: Penguin Books [1943] 2005, p. 165).

Offline Once-Ler

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Re: Exclusive: RNC Launches New Data-Driven Field Operation
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2014, 01:18:51 AM »
ORCA lives?

The earlier manifestation probably cost Romney the election.


I'm figuring you're one of those "glass half empty" kind of guys. :beer:

I was thinking the same thing as I was posting this story, but I couldn't remember the name of the ORCA program.
A frog trapped in a well does not understand the sea.

Offline Luis Gonzalez

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Re: Exclusive: RNC Launches New Data-Driven Field Operation
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2014, 01:28:27 AM »
I'm figuring you're one of those "glass half empty" kind of guys. :beer:

I was thinking the same thing as I was posting this story, but I couldn't remember the name of the ORCA program.

Actually, the glass is dirty.
“[Euthanasia] is what any State medical service has sooner or later got to face. If you are going to be kept alive in institutions run by and paid for by the State, you must accept the State’s right to economize when necessary …” The Ministry of Fear by Graham Green (New York: Penguin Books [1943] 2005, p. 165).


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