November 16, 2005

IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND... (via Robert Schwartz):

Voter Profiles for Bloomberg Went Beyond Ethnic Labels (JIM RUTENBERG, 11/15/05, NY Times)

[R]ather than trying to read the tea leaves of public records to figure out voters' tastes and leanings, [the Bloomberg campaign] had the money to simply call and ask about them directly. They called hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in what top strategists in both the Republican and Democratic Parties said was one of the most ambitious pollings of an electorate ever undertaken.

They stored the answers in a vast computerized database to develop sophisticated psychological portraits of city voters - identifying eight never-before-identified voting blocs based on people's shared everyday interests and concerns, not on their broader racial, cultural or ideological differences, aides said in interviews in the last few days.

The extensive polling gave Mr. Bloomberg's campaign a deep understanding of the city's voters, and allowed it to tailor mailings, electronic messages and prerecorded telephone calls to voters' specific interests as never before, aides said.

"We sat down in February and said we wanted to do this campaign differently, we wanted to unify the city by looking at people who had common beliefs," said Kevin Sheekey, Mr. Bloomberg's campaign manager. "We were not going to classify them by party or race; it was thought-based." [...]

Mr. Sheekey said the idea was to take advantage of a new reality: Even as the Sept. 11 attacks fade from memory, the unity the city showed afterward has remained in a way that provides new opportunities for political strategists.

"After 9/11, New Yorkers unified under a paradigm that was not race-based," Mr. Sheekey said.

And with that understanding, Mr. Schoen said, the Bloomberg campaign was able to address voters in a way that Mr. Ferrer's campaign could not. Its frequent critiques of Mr. Bloomberg as a Republican, and its descriptions of the city as "two New Yorks" separated by class, he said, were not addressing the true concerns of New Yorkers.

"If you are a poor person worried about your job, you're not talking in party terms," Mr. Schoen said. "We were talking responsively to their needs and people weren't going to respond to the old language of class and race and party."

Once the rest of Blue America moves beyond a race-based paradigm how do Democrats ever win?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 16, 2005 12:00 PM

By running as Republicans, just like Mayor Bloomberg.

Posted by: Steven Donegal at November 16, 2005 12:42 PM

Niall Ferguson wrote the funniest thing I've read in a long, long time the other day--that Bloomberg is a Presidential contender now because he showed how Republicans can win elections, compared to the inexorable Democratic tide sweeping the country. Wow. I'm fairly sure that a room full of monkeys with typewriters could produce better political analysis. At least Scheer could be used as a counter-prognosticator...

Posted by: b at November 16, 2005 12:57 PM

Although Bloomberg's election will mean the Republicans will have their longest stretch in City Hall since the two-party system solidified just before the Civil War, the only thing that has kept New York's collective memory of the need for competent city government from fading is that big hole between Vesey and Liberty streets on the west side of Lower Manhattan.

New York's history has been to throw the scoundrals out when things fall apart to the point that paper shuffling, spin and/or denial are no long enough to cover the problem, and then put them back into office about eight years later. Bloomberg only was elected due to the thought of Mark Green leading the city in the wake of Sept. 11, and while the majority of New Yorkers may revile Bush and the national Republicans, unlike some of the clueless residents of cities such as San Francisco, Boston or Seattle, they can't forget the situation the city is in as the No. 1 domestic target of terrorists because of that 16-acre reminder in their midst.

For someone who made his billions coming up with computer terminals for business that provided more financial information than other sources, it's not surprising Bloomberg would produce a voter survey with similar intracate demographic breakdowns. But absent Sept. 11 he loses to Mark Green, and it's that memory (for now) that keeps the city's voters from feeling they can go back to having someone like Fernando Ferer or some future David Dinkins clone in office.

Posted by: John at November 16, 2005 3:13 PM

They're forgetting about 9/11 but staying unified?

Or is it going to be in the back of their heads for a long, long time?

Bloomie's no pubbie................Of course, at this point in time, neither is most of the Senate.

Posted by: Sandy P at November 16, 2005 4:47 PM
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