According to Steve Friess, NYMag:
… While the media focused on Mark Leibovich’s frothy gossip festival This Town as the Beltway’s favorite summer read, Republican operatives looking ahead to 2014 were finally embracing an extremely wonky book about how the Obama campaign revolutionized the science of modern elections.
When Sasha Issenberg’s The Victory Lab, an insider’s guide to the pivotal statistical concepts and methods behind the vaunted Obama data machine, first came out at the height of the presidential campaign, many on the right rejected it with an allergic ferocity. Top Romney digital operatives told me on a Boston visit last year that his geek squad was evenly matched technologically with their opponents’. (They weren’t, as the “ORCA” election night debacle proved.) In a typical dismissal, RedState.Com founder Ben Domenech mocked Issenberg as “perpetually amazed” by Obama and doubted that his campaign’s microtargeting would work.
One year later, after a period of mourning and introspection over how they could have been so blindsided — and egged on by told-ya-so GOP digital operatives — the Republican Party is trying to learn how to stop worrying and love the non-partisan truths of modern campaigning. And they seem to have embraced Issenberg as a spirit guide. A few months ago, he was summoned to meet with Republican House Leader Eric Cantor, who quizzed him about how the Obama campaign played with language to woo Romney voters. Subsequently, Cantor’s office ordered Republican House chiefs of staff to read the book in preparation for a summer digital training session. “[T]he metric-based evaluation methods in this book can be applied to the official side to help your office better communicate with constituents in your district,” Cantor staffer Tim Cameron wrote in an e-mail to the chiefs of staff.
At the Republican National Committee annual meetings in Boston last month, copies of The Victory Lab were ubiquitous, toted around by GOP strategists and aides in the midst of midterm campaign prep. (“Many of us have read The Victory Lab,” Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the RNC, said in an e-mail.) Though he declines all partisan speaking invites, Issenberg has been heavily sought as a speaker at GOP events — including at the Republican Governors Association “tech summit” in Mackinac, Michigan, later this month….
Issenberg had extraordinary access to the Obama campaign — Obama chief analytics officer Dan Wagner told me that Issenberg was “the one journalist who got it right” — and was able to provide details on the ways it tested the efficacy of various forms of communication, the use of Facebook to create social pressure to register, and vote and voter modeling. All of it now helps explain enduring mysteries of the campaign to many Romney aides, from why Wagner changed nothing after Obama’s disastrous first debate performance to what the Obama camp was doing running TV ads in such GOP strongholds as the Florida-Alabama border.
Even as the paperback edition of The Victory Lab emerges this month with a 2012 postmortem epilogue, the hardcover — which had six printings — climbed back into the top twenty in several categories on Amazon in August….
I’d suggest it for a BJ book chat, but when it comes to numbers, MEGO.