The most effective political organization in America, judged by the recent elections, is Planned Parenthood. As reported by Sarah Kliff:
Planned Parenthood Action Fund earned an honor this campaign cycle that had nothing to do with women’s health: It was the most effective political group in the 2012 election.
Over 98 percent of its spending was in races that ended with the desired result, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation.
Planned Parenthood pulled this off, pollsters and strategists say, with a two-pronged strategy. First, it turned Mitt Romney’s words against him. Then the group used algorithms to identify a group of 1 million female voters, largely in swing states, who were particularly receptive to the group’s message. . . .
Planned Parenthood started with focus groups in the spring, trying to figure out how much voters knew about Romney’s positions on women’s health issues. The answer seemed to be: not a lot. . . .
After that, O’Rourke and her team began testing out what messages worked best to define Romney. They would put up online ads that had personal messages or ones that leveraged Planned Parenthood as an authority on women’s health. . . .
Figuring out the best message was only half the puzzle; Planned Parenthood had to figure out who would be most receptive to their ideas. For that, they turned to micro-targeting, identifying 1 million female voters who were likely to support legal abortion and the health law’s contraceptive mandate.
The group spent about $15 million this year, more than tripling the $4 million it spent in 2008. It wanted to make sure those dollars were targeting the voters who would be open to their message.
“Those were the women that we were going to relentlessly target over and over and over again between June and November,” says Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens.
If you were among the women in that group who lived in Virginia, you received five pieces of direct mail and dozens of phone calls. You would get visits from canvassers, who might hand you a folded-up brochure, styled to look like a pocketbook, that told you Mitt Romney could cost you $407,000 over your lifetime by not supporting no co-pay birth control or equal pay legislation.
My first reaction is to wonder if conservatives and pro-lifers could ever get that sophisticated. My second reaction is to think that no one should be so manipulative and mendacious. “Romney will cost you $407,000.” I’m sure many of these scientifically-targeted and brow-beaten women thought, “But I don’t have $407,000” and voted accordingly.