Reverse engineering targeted emails from 2012 Campaign

May 31, 2012

After noticing the Obama campaign was sending variations of an email to voters, ProPublica identified six distinct types with certain demographics and showed the differences. It was called the Message Machine. Now ProPublica is taking it a step further, hoping to dissect every email from all 2012 campaigns.

Today, we are relaunching the Message Machine, and expanding it from handling just one mailing to handling every email from all of the campaigns in the 2012 election. It will seek a broad understanding in real time of the new and sophisticated ways modern campaigns are targeting voters.

It’s a big puzzle, and to solve it, we need a big sample of political emails, and an understanding of who received them. That’s where you come in.

If you get campaign emails on any subject — donation, get-out-the-vote, volunteering, events, etc. — just forward them to [email protected] using your email program’s standard forwarding feature. Nothing fancier than that needed.

Way cool. Although I bet there will be a lot of noise, especially from the smaller, less data-savvy campaigns.

2 Comments

Favorites

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

Where Bars Outnumber Grocery Stores

A closer look at the age old question of where there are more bars than grocery stores, and vice versa.

Marrying Age

People get married at various ages, but there are definite trends that vary across demographic groups. What do these trends look like?

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.