Margin of Victory
How Technologists Help Politicians Win Elections
by Nathaniel G. Pearlman, Editor
April 2012, 253pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0257-7
$53, £40, 45€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0258-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

While advances in information technology have already drastically changed the way political campaigns are conducted, ongoing innovations in the use of new media, software tools, and data acquisition hold even more power for “getting out the vote.” Deciding how to leverage the analytics, integrate huge amounts of data, and incorporate distributed campaigning into customary methods of fundraising, persuasion, and mobilization is a puzzle still being solved.

This book illuminates modern political technology, examining important technologies, companies, and people; putting recent innovations into historical context; and describing the possible future uses of technology in electoral politics.

Despite a decade of political technology’s celebrated triumphs—such as online fundraising of the presidential campaigns of McCain in 2000, Dean in 2003, and Obama in 2008; or the web-enabled, socially networked campaign of Obama 2008—the field of e-politics is still at an unsolidified stage.

Margin of Victory: How Technologists Help Politicians Win Elections offers an unprecedented insiders’ view of the fast-changing role of political technology that explains how innovations in the use of new media, software tools, data, and analytics hold yet untapped potential. Contributions from leading practitioners in this highly specialized field cover everything from political blogs to targeting mobile devices to utilizing software created specifically to manage campaigns. The book documents how political technology is still in an early stage, despite its enormous advances in recent years, and how the strategies that work today will inevitably be superseded as new technologies arrive and potential voters become less receptive to the previous campaign’s tactics.

Nathaniel G. Pearlman is the founder of NGP VAN, Inc., a large firm that has assisted Democrats and their allies in fundraising, compliance, organizing tools, and new media since 1997. He has worked in the field of political technology for more than two decades, and is president of Timeplots, LLC, a creative analytic design and niche information enterprise. Pearlman earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from Yale College, New Haven, CT, and studied American politics and political statistics in the doctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

Reviews

"[T]here is a plethora of knowledge here that will be useful for strategists, politicians, and academics who want to understand how technology was used in the past, how it is being used in the present, and how it should be used in the future."—Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 1, 2014
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