I'm experiencing CW whiplash today. About a week ago, everyone thought one big Republican advantage was their superior "microtargeting" abilities and GOTV operation. Then they lost the election. Now today I heard an influential Democratic advisor type arguing that this shows that "macrotargeting the middle class" is better than microtargeting, and Josh Marshall's hinting around that it was all mumbo-jumbo.
Well, maybe it was. Certainly, I haven't reported on this question at all. That said, I recall having read a lot of fairly detailed reporting on GOP GOTV in 2004. After all, nothing about losing one election debunks the idea that the Republicans have a better GOTV operation. It's just that even really good GOTV can't save you from massive unpopularity.
So I'm not really sure, but I wouldn't write microtargeting off just yet. It's very possible that the Republicans really have developed superior methods and that Democrats should try to imitate them. After all, if you compare the 2006 exit polls to the 2004 exit polls you'll see an electorate that actually got much more demographically pro-Republican. You have a larger proportion of men, a larger proportion of white people, a smaller proportion of young people, fewer people making less than $15k, more people making more than $200k, lots of things like that. Democrats managed to significant improve their performance with just about every demographic sub-group out there (except, interestingly, African-Americans who voted just the same) so you'd need to be a true turnout magician to prevent a Democratic win.
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