The Catalist After Action Report


Part two in a three-part series of posts: The 2008 Data Wars, Re-examined. Earlier today: Data suggests that Democratic microtargeting efforts were successful. Now: Catalist's after action report, posted in full. Tomorrow: Inside the Service Employees International Union's sophisticated targeting.

Here's a link to the after action report.pdf from Catalist, the big Democratic data warehouse, and from the Analyst Institute, about the 2008 election.

It was distributed to all 90 members, along with a specific appendix breaking out, for each group, the effectiveness of their individual contributions to the effort.

The data includes voter contact information for 16 states: CO, FL, GA, IA, IN, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NM, NV, OH, PA, VA and WI.
The summary begins:

This 2008 post-election report is based on the most up-to-date information in Catalist's database. It reflects the work of over 90 progressive organizations, unions, campaigns, and party committees that contracted with Catalist during the 2007-2008 presidential cycle (see Appendix for a client list).  Many of these subscribers themselves represent scores of additional candidates, coalition partners and affiliates. These progressive stakeholders uploaded information from their voter contact and civic engagement work into Catalist's database, resulting in a very substantial total data set. On the whole, progressives completed over 127 million contacts to more than 49 million unique individuals[1]. Of these, 28 million voted on Election Day, representing over 20% of all votes cast. Furthermore, and of greater significance, is that 82% of this work occurred in 16 swing states, accounting for 37%[2] of all votes cast in these states[3]. The results described in this report strongly indicate that progressive activities had positive effects, and in some places were essential to progressive victories.

By aggregating their information, progressives that contract with Catalist are helping to paint an increasingly, more accurate picture of the American electorate benefitting both the participating organizations and the entire progressive community.  These analyses are made entirely possible by the hard work of each of Catalist's customers. None of this could occur without their outstanding efforts, tremendous dedication, and profound belief in what they do. We offer our thanks to each of them for putting their faith in us and giving us the opportunity to help support them as they make a difference in our nation.

[1] These are conservative statistics and represent contacts that are 100% confirmed.

[2] Catalist does not have Virginia's 2008 vote history and therefore is underreporting the number of people who were contacted in the battleground states and turned out.

[3] This refers to 16 states: CO, FL, GA, IA, IN, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NM, NV, OH, PA, VA and WI.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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