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Friday, May 25, 2012

Using empirical methods to analyze the effectiveness of persuasive techniques

Slate Magazine has a story detailing the Obama campaign's embracement of empirical methods to assess the relative effectiveness of political advertisements. 

To those familiar with the campaign’s operations, such irregular efforts at paid communication are indicators of an experimental revolution underway at Obama’s Chicago headquarters. They reflect a commitment to using randomized trials, the result of a flowering partnership between Obama’s team and the Analyst Institute, a secret society of Democratic researchers committed to the practice, according to several people with knowledge of the arrangement. ...

The Obama campaign’s “experiment-informed programs”—known as EIP in the lefty tactical circles where they’ve become the vogue in recent years—are designed to track the impact of campaign messages as voters process them in the real world, instead of relying solely on artificial environments like focus groups and surveys. The method combines the two most exciting developments in electioneering practice over the last decade: the use of randomized, controlled experiments able to isolate cause and effect in political activity and the microtargeting statistical models that can calculate the probability a voter will hold a particular view based on hundreds of variables.

Curiously, this story comes on the heels of a New York Times op-ed questioning the utility and reliability of social science approaches to policy concerns and a movement in Congress to defund the political science studies program at NSF.

Jeff

 

Posted by Dingo_Pug on May 25, 2012 at 09:13 AM in Current Affairs, Information and Technology, Science | Permalink

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Sorry, the paragraph beginning "The Obama campaign's..." is a continuation of the quote - somehow my second indent came undone. #typepadnovice

Posted by: Jeff Yates | May 25, 2012 9:17:45 AM

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