Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Micah Sifry, co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, writes that Barack Obama may be struggling in the polls and even losing support among his core boosters, but when it comes to the modern mechanics of identifying, connecting with and mobilizing voters, as well as the challenge of integrating voter information with the complex internal workings of a national campaign, Obama's data analysis team is way ahead of the Republican pack. Alone among the major candidates running for president, the Obama campaign not only has a Facebook page with 23 million "likes" (roughly 10 times the total of all the Republicans running), it has a Facebook app that is scooping up all kinds of juicy facts about his supporters and inside the Obama operation, his staff members are using a powerful social networking tool called NationalField, which enables everyone to share what they are working on. "The holy grail of data analysis is data harmonization, or master data management," says Alex Lundry, a Republican data-mining expert at TargetPoint Consulting. "To have political talking to finance and finance talking to field, and data is flowing back and forth and informing the actions of each other — it sounds easy, but it's incredibly hard to implement." Sifry writes that if the 2012 election comes down to a battle of inches, where a few percentage points change in turnout in a few key states making all the difference, we may come to see Obama's investment in predictive modelers and data scientists as the key to victory."
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