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Operators, Give Me Information

May
31
2004

A Democratic Party insider asks a good question: What really happened in Iowa?
How – exactly – did then-presumptive nominee Howard Dean lose? There are a lot of theories. One, that Democrats decided to vote for someone who was “electable.” Certainly Dean’s lousy campaigning – the stories making the rounds get better with each retelling – was part of that equation. Then there’s the inexperience of the campaign workers. One insider swears that the troops abandoned their posts at the caucuses and went, instead, to the “I have a Scream” rally to see their man (my personal favorite). With no one to corral them for Dean, regular Joe caucus-goers (many first-timers) may have happily traded the guy who wasn’t there for one who was. The out-of-state quotient undoubtedly contributed to Dean’s loss. So did the candidates inability to think through and about his message. And, of course, there’s the Geeks-don’t-vote problem.


But, really, what happened? We don’t know. And until there’s some polling done – good, smart professional polling – we’re not going to know. For a variety of reasons, this suits party leadership just fine. Painting the people with laptops as looney and unreliable is in their best interest.
So, before everybody gets carried away with social software, blogging and other engineering tools for grassroots reform, personal democracy, funky diagrams and cool little graphs and charts maybe a little old fashioned polling about Iowa and Dean is in order. Think about it: You could find out what worked and why.
Someone – someone with political ambition and a little cash, you know who you are – needs to plunk down the dough ($40,000, probably) and get professionals to ask questions: Where did Dean supporters come from? Where did they go? Why? Why not? Did on-line communication play a role? How? Was if effective? Why? Why not? At what point does on-line loyalty peter out? How can it be maintained? This is the future. Better to ask now than pay later, don’t you think, Wes? Governor? I say you guys split the bill and tell us what you find out. Inquiring minds and all that.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 5:49 PM | Permalink

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