Political Social Science

While we may not appreciate his politics or his use of the term “eggheads” to describe researchers, Texas Governor Rick Perry is bringing applied social science into electoral campaigns in a way rarely seen before.

In her new book The Victory Lab, Sasha Issenberg reports that Perry’s team is deploying sophisticated experimental research models to evaluate what campaign strategies are most effective, and deploying content analysis to assess the relative importance of different interview strategies.

In an interview with the New York Times, Issenberg argues that Perry’s team has gone even farther than the Obama 2008 team’s heavy use of social science data by including randomized experimental models for testing the effectiveness of different campaign strategies. However, no amount of research can innoculate candidates against “foot in mouth” disease.

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