Thursday, July 5, 2007

Romney Leaves No Primary Voter 'Unturned'

Romney's Data Cruncher

By Chris Cillizza
Washingtonpost.com Staff Writer


A pioneer in 'microtargeting,' he sounds part marketer and part
political strategist....

In late 2002, Alex Gage sold his share of a well-established polling firm and set about convincing Karl Rove that he had the answer to ensuring President Bush's reelection.

His pitch was simple: Take corporate America's love affair with learning everything it can about its customers, and its obsession with carving up the country into smaller and smaller clusters of like-minded consumers, and turn those trends into a political strategy. The Bush majority would be made up of thousands of groups of like-minded voters whom the campaign could reach with precisely the right message on the issues they considered most important.

Now Gage is working for another Republican presidential candidate entranced by the possibilities of microtargeting -- Mitt Romney. A Harvard Business School graduate who went on to head Bain Capital, Romney has made a point of adapting modern business techniques to politics, and it was in his successful 2002 campaign to be governor of Massachusetts that Gage's methods were first tried.

"The governor believes in accountability, benchmarks and metrics," said Beth Myers, Romney's campaign manager, explaining his interest in microtargeting. "He believes in using data when it comes to making decisions."

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