Politics and Your Mind 17 Oct 2012 (The Day After the Obama-Romney Hofstra Town Hall Style Debate)


NextStage Political Reader determines political outcomes based on how people are thinking when they're on monitored websitesThis post continues a thread started in Politics and Your Mind 9 Oct 2012 (Introducing the NextStage Political Reader) and continued in Politics and the Gender Mind 10-12 Oct 2012 (With a Touch of Debate BS and PersonaScoping at the End). We’re using The NextStage Political Reader to determine how people will vote in the 2012 US Presidential election.

The same caveats apply here as previously: NextStage is not monitoring all sites in the US nor was the entire voting population online during the time this data was collected.

A Quick Read of the Charts

  • Say – What people would tell you in conversation. These numbers should be closest to national polls.
  • Think – Which party do people think will do better. This may or may not be who people would vote for or who they want to win, only who they think will do better.
  • Hearts – This is the number that most closely responds to the outcome of a secret ballot if held today.
  • End – If people could be magically transported to their real voting venue and knew for a fact that their vote would actually make a difference, how would they vote?

The Gender Divide

The twelve or so hours since the debate started have been busy internet-wise. NextStage tracked over 10 million people (3.43% of the voter population) (over 7½ million women and close to 3 million men) and there is no doubt that President Obama carried the evening as far as women voters go. What President Obama also managed to do was make lots of men reconsider their voting decision. They didn’t go totally democratic and they did move away from republican by a substantial margin.

How Would They Say They’d Vote Right Now?
How did the Hofstra Debate Affect How Voters Say They'll Vote?

The real shift is in male consciousness, though. In their own minds, men believe President Obama won the debate.

But What Do They Think?

Heartwise, men still believe President Obama won the debate by a large margin although here we see that men still have a hankering for Governor Romney.

And What Are Their Hearts Telling Them?

But in the end and all things considered, the Democrats won the night.

And In the End, Will Hearts or Minds Prevail?

A Final Word

The Republicans may also believe President Obama and the Democrats carried the night. As I write this, it is slightly after 10amET and so far the only political calls to our offices have been by Republican operatives, and those to let us know how wrong President Obama was and what he wasn’t telling the debate audience. Normally there’s a 50/50 mix and the calls are issue oriented.


Politics and the Gender Mind 10-12 Oct 2012 (With a Touch of Debate BS and PersonaScoping at the End)


Following up with Politics and Your Mind 9 Oct 2012 (Introducing the NextStage Political Reader), we now supply a gender-based voter breakdown…

A Quick Read of the Charts

  • Say – What people would tell you in conversation. These numbers should be closest to national polls.
  • Think – Which party do people think will do better. This may or may not who people would vote for or who they want to win, only who they think will do better.
  • Hearts – This is the number that most closely responds to the outcome of a secret ballot if held today.
  • End – If people could be magically transported to their real voting venue and knew for a fact that their vote would actually make a difference, how would they vote?

What I’ll share today is probably why day by day evaluations are meaningless from an eventual outcome perspective while incredibly fascinating from a socio-political perspective.

What Changed Their Minds So Rapidly

The image below indicates an incredible shift in male voting patterns in a 24hr period.

Male voting change from 10-11 Oct 2012

Likewise, the following image indicates a similar shift among female voters in the same 24hr period.

Female voting change from 10-11 Oct 2012

What happened in 24hrs to cause that kind of shift? There may have been something from a news standpoint. NextStageologists spent a few hours looking at it and realized it was a shift in “who” was analyzed.

Or more correctly, how many of who was analyzed.

It’s All in the Numbers

The 10 Oct 2012 analysis involved 3,658,758 men (1.21% of all voters) and 931,852 females (0.31% of all voters). The 11 Oct 2012 analysis involved 124,916 men (0.04% of all voters) and 1,114,259 female (0.37% of all voters).

Of perhaps greater interest is that the 10 Oct 2012 results are from sites covering 19-75 year olds while the 11 Oct 2012 results sampled sites catering to 54-75 year olds. Evidently younger men and mature women favor the Democrats, older men and younger women favor the Republicans.

First, the 11 Oct 2012 sample is about 1/4 the size of the 10 Oct 2012 sample. Also, the 10 Oct 2012 sample was 3:1 male:female weighted, the 11 Oct 2012 sample was almost 10:1 female:male weighted.

And After the Biden-Ryan Debate…

Today, 12 Oct 2012, we did another run of the NextStage Political Reader and it seems all bets are off and the Democrats need to do some serious rethinking if they plan to win the election. Analyzing 1,708,074 visitors (0.57% of the voter population) we get the results below.

How Would They Say They’d Vote Right Now?
Men and Women Voting after the Biden-Ryan Debate

Again, the devil’s in the details. The above is primarily for a 12 hour stretch post debate, hence overnight traffic. Evidently Republican males don’t sleep much.

About that BS thing

There was much discussion of how well Romney did in the first Obama-Romney debate. Some of that might have been due to how much BS (BlueSky, a measure of how believable a person was) the audience detected in both candidates. Pretty much all their values were equal with the exception of BlueSky where the Democrats came off as less believable than the Republicans:

How Much BS Was There?
How Much BS Was There in the Debates?

Was Anybody Really Talking to the People?

The last question answered in this post is one of personal curiosity. I’ve always wondered (and several readers have contacted me with similar questions) if politicians talk more to each other or if they really talk to the voters.

Fortunately NextStage’s PersonaScope and SampleMatch tools can answer such questions via “{C,B/e,M}”s. {C,B/e,M}s are a shorthand for how people think, behave and what motivates them. Ever meet someone you just didn’t get along with? Chances are your {C,B/e,M} conflicted with the other person’s. Ever meet someone you hit it off with immediately? Chances are the two of you had highly complimentary {C,B/e,M}s. You can find out more about {C,B/e,M}s at Looking for Love? Now You Can Find All the Right Places! (On the Evolution of Tools)

Obama was communicating using a K13 {C,B/e,M} while Romney, Biden and Ryan all used a V13 {C,B/e,M}. While neither K13 nor V13 is a dominant communication form in the United States, V13 is closer to how the majority of US citizens talk to each other than K13 by 22%. This could be another reason for the Romney Resurgence.

Politics and Your Mind 9 Oct 2012 (Introducing the NextStage Political Reader)


Long ago a blog reader asked if NextStage’s Evolution Technology could determine if people were Democrat or Republican. My response was “Yes, although I’m not sure how it would do it.”

Flash forward to sometime in 2010. I’m reading some research conducted at Cornell, USC and WSU. The research doesn’t immediately solve the “How would ET do it?” question but it did point to a possible solution.

The math and coding race is on!

Flash to Feb 2011. We started a few months’ testing against a variety of people who are open about their political beliefs and whose political beliefs, ideas and agendas are known to NextStage, next we spent a little over a year testing against people of unknown political persuasions who’s psycho-cognitive, -emotive and behavioral cues matched our core sample’s. Finally we performed statistical analyses of what these unknowns read, how they read it and how they responded to what they’d read, matching certain values against nationally polled values.

The NextStage Political ReaderLong and the short of it, we figured out how ET can determine people’s political persuasions, something we’re calling The NextStage Political Reader (NSPR).

We hope to post them as time allows through the rest of the political season.

Politics and Your Mind 9 Oct 2012

The United States may be divided along party lines in the media but how does it fare in the hearts and minds of real voters? People may say the country’s divided but do they really believe it? Do they know what is causing the divide? How to stop it? How to change it? And do they want to?

The following gauges indicate different aspects of voters’ convictions, intentions, their thinking and leanings based on an analysis of all visitors of voting age (1,081,656 total or 0.36% of the voting population) to all US based websites/online properties monitored by NextStage in the past 24 hours. All values on the charts are percentages of visitor populations. (Note that NextStage is not monitoring all US sites/properties nor was the entire US voting population online during that time period.)

As of Tue, 9 Oct 12, the winners are Democrats by 1.14%.

A Quick Read of the Charts

  • Say – What people would tell you in conversation. These numbers should be closest to national polls.
  • Think – Which party do people think will do better. This may or may not be who people would vote for or who they want to win, only who they think will do better.
  • Hearts – This is the number that most closely responds to the outcome of a secret ballot if held today.
  • End – If people could be magically transported to their real voting venue on 11 Nov 2012 and knew for a fact that their vote would actually make a difference, how would they vote?
How Would They Say They’d Vote Right Now?

But What Do They Think?

And What Are Their Hearts Telling Them?

And In the End, Will Hearts or Minds Prevail?


Regarding the first Romney-Obama Presidential Debate: October 3, 2012

This post first appeared on Thursday October 4, 2012, in The Washington Post as an untitled top comment.

In the Wednesday debate, both Romney and Obama did details, but Romney had a better game plan – if he wins the toss, start second so he can see Obama’s approach and delivery as the first speaker, and also so he can have the evening’s last word by which to leave the final impression on viewers.

But aside from debate game plans, the Romney team clearly pushed in the two-party debate planning process for the debates to focus on detail topics – the strategic goal being to cause Obama to focus on details and not have time to bring up his leadership in pulling the country out of a deep hole.  The resulting dog that didn’t bark is that Obama never got into gear on his real value as a leader, versus his day-to-day work as a manager.

Then Romney played the next game plan card by claiming that Obama didn’t include Republican input to Obamacare.  At that point, Obama fell into the trap and failed to point out that the Senate leadership had openly stated their top job was to make Obama a one-term president, and that the House leadership was internally whipsawed by the take-no-prisoners stance from the Tea Party movement.

In the debate, Obama did not point out that the lack of bi-partisanship was due to the Republican decision to offer no willingness to make any negotiable and workable contribution to either the process or the substance.  In effect, the Republicans went on a sit-down strike, and then blamed Obama for not working with them.  And Obama did not use Romney’s artificial complaint about cooperation to make the point that the Republicans were the ones who chose to sit it out while throwing darts at the work in progress.

Obama’s missed opportunity to set the major legislative story straight set the tone for the evening.  From then on, it was detail after detail, where Romney’s business sense excels at building stories from highly artful and colorful numbers.  Obama’s lifetime as a lawyer in ward politics did not give him the instinct to elevate the exchange to the place where he really excels, which is connecting leadership with operational action across the huge mix of players in DC to get things actually to happen.  Wow.

Bolton Bluntness

John Bolton for President. For the run-of-the-mill conservative, such a concept is interesting — almost startling. What is also interesting, but not startling, are the results of the NSE analysis of the interview with Bolton. These results are very much in line with the public persona of Bolton as he has presented himself for some years, now.

The fact that he has a very low BS factor would suggest he’d had a chance to prepare responses for the interview ahead of time, but having seen quite a few interviews with him through the years, I doubt it was necessary. Bolton has always displayed the trained, practiced diplomat’s control of language to choose the precise word to convey the precise meaning for the precise situation. The biggest difference is he is always very fluid with the language, never slowing down the sentence to be sure of selecting each word properly. Some of the less precise formulations of the interviewer suggest this is a transcription of a real, off-the-cuff back and forth interview, and I would be surprised to learn otherwise.

While his might not inspire media venom like a Palin candidacy would, Bolton does not have a reputation for being a smooth politician. His appointment as UN ambassador was a recess appointment, a foreshadowing of the bloody battle he would face against livid liberals. And his reputation among some coworkers at the State Department was that of an “abrasive” character. (Some might find that a sterling recommendation, actually, in that environment).

The abrasiveness among fellow diplomats and his performance as UN ambassador, not to mention his public pronouncements since then, show his focus is clearly on the foreign policy challenges the country faces, not on going along to get along. And this fits well with the “vision” measures where his vision for the country has a much stronger reading than his vision for himself. And given his feisty, sometimes contrarian positions, even while in office, it’s also no surprise he gets relatively low ratings in the “man of the people” category, compared to some of the more experienced elected officials who may run.

Bolton is a realist, and I feel confident he does not expect a sudden movement to draft him into the candidacy. And Nolte, the interviewer, is an astute analyst and also sees little prospect of such an event. I suspect any dancing around that shows up in the Compatibility Gauge has to do with Bolton’s well-known bluntness. A blunt, unpredictable respondent is always a terrifying prospect in an interview.

Aside from what the Political Analyzer Tool shows, I suspect Bolton’s coming out publicly has more to do with wanting to put pressure on the field to keep foreign policy relevant in the 2012 elections, and perhaps a bit of wistful longing to work with a successful candidate to finish what he did not get a chance to finish while Bush was in office.