This is either a promising sign of intelligently retooling after last election’s inferior ground game, or a carnival of chaos just waiting to happen. Let’s hope it’s the former.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
Scott Bland writes: Ten months from Election Day, uncertainty is the watchword in the House of Representatives. Democrats look very unlikely to pick up the 17 seats they would need to retake the House majority, and they could lose seats, with the generic-ballot average settling into a slim Republican advantage after a tumultuous fall. But the speed of earlier movement against both parties shows why it would be foolish to assume what’s true today will be true in 10 months.
A race-by-race look at the House landscape also helps explain why things are unsettled. As far as we see it, there is only one slam-dunk pickup that either side can more or less count on right now. The GOP’s generic-ballot advantage and a large class of Democratic freshmen in battleground districts (the party picked up eight seats in 2012) has given Republicans a greater number of targets in top races. But recent GOP retirements in some blue-tinged districts have them especially worried—and Democrats licking their chops—about control in certain regions (though one retirement, by controversial Minnesota Republican MicheleBachmann, actually took her seat out of the battleground column and back to safe GOP territory). Strategists in both parties, meanwhile, worry that they don’t have candidates capable of grabbing some of the tougher districts on the table.
Most interesting of all, Democrats have few pickup opportunities in the Northeast, their strongest area, while Republicans will target few districts in the South. That’s because they’ve already won most of them, a long-term trend reinforced by “dual waves” in different parts of the country in 2012. Democrats hold every seat in New England right now, and the GOP Conference is more Southern—and the South more Republican—than ever in the history of the Republican Party.
These rankings place districts in order starting with the most likely to switch partisan control. Thus, some hotly contested races—like Rep. Mike Honda‘s challenge from a fellow California Democrat and Rep. Mike Simpson‘s challenge from a fellow Idaho Republican—are not on this list. This being an early look, we are only going 30 races deep, but there are one or two dozen more that could definitely be competitive in November. We examined a multitude of factors to choose and place battleground districts on this list: public and private polling, candidates’ fundraising ability, advertising patterns and outside group involvement, local media coverage, and months of cumulative reporting andanalysis.
Without further ado, let’s begin with the congressional district most likely to flip from one party to the other this November:
1. Utah-04—Rep. Jim Matheson (D) is retiring
Nothing is certain in politics, but Matheson’s retirement basically cedes the seat to Republicans. Without his brand name, it’s very difficult to imagine a Democrat overcoming the party’s poor performance levels in this state and district. (President Obama just cleared 30 percent here in 2012, making it his 25th-worst district in the country.) Repeat GOP candidate Mia Love, who would be the first African-American Republican woman in Congress if she won, is now the biggest early favorite to become a House freshman in 2015, though Matheson’s decision could spur some more GOP interest in the seat.