I'm supposed to be getting a lot more attention. Sure, I got a couple of robocalls, a few mailers and a bunch of e-mails from Obama with subject lines including "Hey," "Hey," "Hey," "Hey" and "Hey again." But this election was supposed to be more about me. The presidential campaigns data-mined information on my purchases, Web browsing, blog postings, real estate holdings and Facebook friendships in order to find the policies I care deeply about and promise me exactly what I want. And yet all I got were the kind of dashed-off, any-girl-who's-awake e-mails titled "Hey." If a guy's going to get all dressed and go out to a polling station, he'd like to feel special.
A little effort would be easy, since the campaigns know so much about our behavior and, therefore, our political opinions. According to the New York Times and a study by CivicScience, they know that people who eat at Red Lobster, shop at Burlington Coat Factory, like George Clooney, have cats, stay up late, watch NBC and listen to smooth jazz are likely Obama supporters, while people who drink Sam Adams, pay for groceries by credit card, go to Olive Garden, watch Fox, love action movies, read political blogs daily and follow college football are more likely to prefer Romney. Voters who visit religious websites get religious messages when they return to either candidate's site. I got "California, get the latest news and updates from the campaign" when I went back to the Romney site. I guess it doesn't have a message programmed for "Thanks for taking a break from porn to learn about my tax plan!"
To encourage the candidates to care more about me, I had visited both barackobama.com and mittromney.com knowing they'd drop trackers on me to follow me around the Web to find out what I'm into. In fact, according to the browser extension Ghostery, Obama's site dropped 19 trackers on me and Romney's dropped 15. Walmart bothered with only five, and Coca-Cola four.
Still: nothing. Since the candidates weren't playing along, I contacted Intelli-Global Corp., which buys and sells data and has worked with campaigns in the past. Intelli-Global usually sells data only in bundles without names attached, but after getting my permission to dig, CEO Peter Harvey sent me an 11-page file within 24 hours. He found out that I live in Los Angeles, which, according to his model, is likely to make me a Democrat. However, I own my home, have a high net worth, make more than $75,000 a year and have a good credit score, which all skew Republican. My purchases and savings put me in the company's "Secured Prosperity" cluster and my lovely wife Cassandra in its "Established Elite" cluster, which are both GOP-trending and horrible names for bowling teams. Despite our Romneyesque cluster names, however, Harvey predicted we'd be voting for Obama.