A handful of articles the day before the midterms:
During the automated calls, which last about a minute, the moderator first asks whether the listener is a registered voter or which candidate he favors. Voters receive different sets of questions depending on how they answer. The system then asks a series of â€œyesâ€ or â€œnoâ€ questions about different issues, and each answer guides the system forward.
For instance, in the Montana race, if a voter agrees that liberal-leaning judges seem to go too far, the moderator quickly jumps to another question that highlights the differences between Mr. Tester and the Republican incumbent, Senator Conrad Burns: â€œDoes the fact that Jon Tester says he would have voted against common-sense, pro-life judges like Samuel Alito and John Roberts, and Conrad Burns supported them, make you less favorable toward Jon Tester?â€
In Tennessee, after listeners are asked if terrorists should have the same rights as Americans, this comparison between Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., the Democratic Senate candidate, and Bob Corker, the Republican, is given: â€œFact: Harold Ford Jr. voted against the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and voted against renewing the Patriot Act, which treats terrorists as terrorists. Fact: Bob Corker supports renewal of the Patriot Act and how it would treat terrorists.â€
Seeking to match a highly successful Republican strategy that many say resulted in President Bush’s reelection in 2004, Democrats have spent many millions of dollars on “microtargeting,” compiling what they believe is the most sophisticated and accurate portrait of voters they have ever assembled, relying on consumer data about everything from car ownership to hunting licenses to magazine subscriptions.
Now, according to party leaders, even the smallest campaigns across the country can constantly upload and download data about millions of potential voters. Campaign specialists said the data could be crucial in improving field organizations, which can make up to a 4 percent difference in elections — more than enough to be decisive in many close races.
Some more general political articles