The first step: collection. This work happens in front of computers and at county clerk offices. By gathering data, from votes to videos, researchers provide the factual foundation for campaigns.
After the facts are gathered, we put them through the next step, analysis. Here the job can become more art than science. We look for patterns (voted to raise taxes 30 times), for anomalies (voted against military spending except one time, cui bono?) and for oddities.
Dissemination is the third step. A campaign must decide how and when to use this material. Should we put it in ads or make it public in speeches? Do we rush it out early or hold it for rapid response? It often helps to have good relations with the news media for this purpose. In 2003, Representative Steve LaTourette, Republican of Ohio, gained notice for divorcing his wife over the phone and taking up with his former chief of staff. In research, I found out that his former chief of staff had become a lobbyist, with clients who were benefiting from Mr. LaTourette’s membership on a transportation committee.
Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign has flashed some impressive research skills, especially on the immigration issue. When Senator Ted Cruz of Texas went after Mr. Rubio for his past work on a bipartisan immigration bill that included a pathway to citizenship, or what Republicans call amnesty, the Rubio campaign countered swiftly with votes and quotes made by Mr. Cruz that appeared to show him supporting a pathway to citizenship. With prepared research, Mr. Rubio’s team was able to blunt Mr. Cruz’s attack.
This blog continues the discussion that we began with Epic Journey: The 2008 Elections and American Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009).The latest book in this series is Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The Three Parts of Oppo
Breet DiResta writes about oppo at The New York Times:
Posted by Pitney at 5:54 AM
Labels: Cruz, government, Marco Rubio, opposition research, political science, Politics