A central factor in Mitt Romney's impressive win in New Hampshire was a sophisticated and relentless voter contact program that locked in supporters early and turned them out to the polls.
Flush with cash as other rivals limped through the summer and fall, the Romney team poured resources into data: Operatives mined reams of consumer information — from the number of purchases voters made at Williams-Sonoma to their range of financial investments — to build a model that would allow them to find and identify potential supporters.
Michael Meyers, one of Romney's micro-targeting gurus and the president of the Alexandria, Va.-based TargetPoint Consulting, noted that because more data are now collected online, the campaign has been able to cull up to 300 pieces of information about a voter, compared with fewer than two dozen in 2008.
The practice is a cost-effective way to reach high-value voters, especially in states where heavy retail politicking is impractical.
"The larger the state is, the harder it is to do effective voter contact — because there's more people to contact, identify and recontact," said Charlie Black, a strategist for 2008 GOP nominee John McCain who has informally offered advice to Romney from time to time this cycle. "The underdog candidates, even if they got hot and won a primary, don't have time to develop and install this kind of system in a matter of weeks.
"It's expensive. It's part of having a sophisticated national campaign that's well-funded," Black said, "and they're really the only such campaign out there this time."