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The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns [Kindle Edition]

Sasha Issenberg
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £11.99
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Book Description

The book Politico calls “Moneyball for politics” shows how cutting-edge social science and analytics are reshaping the modern political campaign.

Renegade thinkers are crashing the gates of a venerable American institution, shoving aside its so-called wise men and replacing them with a radical new data-driven order. We’ve seen it in sports, and now in The Victory Lab, journalist Sasha Issenberg tells the hidden story of the analytical revolution upending the way political campaigns are run in the 21st century.
     The Victory Lab follows the academics and maverick operatives rocking the war room and re-engineering a high-stakes industry previously run on little more than gut instinct and outdated assumptions. Armed with research from behavioural psychology and randomized experiments that treat voters as unwitting guinea pigs, the smartest campaigns now believe they know who you will vote for even before you do.  Issenberg tracks these fascinating techniques—which include cutting edge persuasion experiments, innovative ways to mobilize voters, heavily researched electioneering methods—and shows how our most important figures, such as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, are putting them to use with surprising skill and alacrity.
     Provocative, clear-eyed and energetically reported, The Victory Lab offers iconoclastic insights into political marketing, human decision-making, and the increasing power of analytics.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3157 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (11 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MDK72E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104,613 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In The Victory Lab, Issenberg charts the use of scientific methods in the practice of electioneering in US politics. What's fascinating about his account is that up until very recently there was very little science behind how elections were conducted, and there's been a noticeable disconnect between political science and the electioneers. The strategy was simply one of blanket advertising across different media, mail shots, debates, mudslinging and rallies. There was little attempt to scientifically measure and evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches, or to segment and target populations. Drawing on his own experience of a journalist covering elections and interviews with a number of key players, Issenberg provides an account of the rise of data and statistically-driven campaigning in the US, culminating in Obama's election in 2008. Because the chapters are arranged by chronology and by particular groups/campaigns, the structure tends to move to-and-fro a little. That said, the narrative it easy enough to follow, and the text is lively, engaging and informative. Somewhat oddly, there seems to have been no attempt to learn anything from elections outside of the US, and Issenberg's narrative barely strays beyond US shores. Overall, what the book demonstrates is the US elections are now being run like lab-experiments, underpinned by big data and statistical algorithms, and they're set to follow this approach for the foreseeable future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Published mere months before the American presidential and congressional elections of 2012, "The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns" is an insightful exploration of the recent history behind the application of behavioral psychology and statistical analysis in influencing the current state of American political campaigns, especially with regards to shaping campaign themes and messages and in enticing voter turnout. Sasha Issenberg's book is a very reasonable account of current American political campaigning and one which promises to be viewed by many as a journalistic landmark that will be read not only by a general audience but also by those interested in shaping further the future course of political campaigning here in the United States. Issenberg emphasizes the important research of Yale University political scientists Don Green and Alan Gerber in emphasizing the importance of direct, personal appeals, by campaign workers to potential voters. Applying insights derived from behavioral psychology, the research done by Green, Gerber and their students would have important impact on the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. Issenberg describes how the use of statistical techniques derived from market research as well as from theoretical statistics would have important, dramatic impacts in data mining of potential voters which the Obama campaign used brilliantly in its 2008 campaign, as well as what may be occurring now within Romney's campaign. Without question, "The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns" is an important addition towards public understanding of modern political campaigns and one worthy of a wide readership.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Campaigning in the Age of Big Data 13 Oct. 2014
By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a book about how to win an election in the age of high tech and big data. Campaigning is no longer about broadcasting a candidate's message to the widest possible audience. It is not even about distinguishing between a candidate's supporters, opponents, and the undecided to send a different message to each group. It is about tapping vast quantities of data available about most American adults and targeting each person with the most effective personalized strategy. And it is about finding the best messages, issues, even rumors, using experimental comparisons. It is about doing this below the radar, out of the awareness of the public. This is the nature of the modern political battlefield as seen by both parties. The strategy, tactics, and personalities who make this possible are the subject of this book.

The book's narrative is a collection of smaller stories. There are brief biographies of those who developed and refined new approaches to collecting and using voter data. There are success and failure stories of various campaigns and of major battles within those campaigns. And there are the specific tactics these people deploy. It is impossible to list them all, so here are a few:

- Using public records, pollsters mailed each person in a precinct a list of who had voted and who had not voted in the last election--along with an announcement of their plan to mail out updated lists after the next election. This increased voter turnout by 20%. When this strategy as put into practice, the mailers went only to voters likely to support the pollster's candidate, resulting in a selective increase in voter turnout.

- It is very difficult to sell new tactics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read 26 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is exactly the product I wanted at a very reasonable price. Highly recommended and would use again. My thanks, Ian

Well worth the read and great insight.
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