Sunday, November 16, 2008

Numbers based

In the wake of the U.S. election, all of the Canadian parties are understandably looking to mimic Barack Obama's successful campaign - and indeed I've suggested several ways in which the NDP can do just that. But let's note Ezra Klein's take on the underlying philosophy that seems to have worked so well, as the specific tactical choices which have received most of the attention were built on a foundation of data-driven decision-making - or as Klein puts it in language that I've tried to tie into Canadian politics before, a "Sabermetrics campaign".

Of course, as in baseball, there's still plenty of room for argument as to what indicators are most important in evaluating the success of a political operation. But the Obama campaign may reflect the first step in a shift from general reliance on the hunches of grizzled political veterans to far more widespread efforts to ground political decisions in empirical data - much as the same has happened in baseball's front offices over the past decade. And this may be one more lesson from Obama which could easily translate into an advantage for the Canadian party which works hardest to follow suit.

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