Obama vs McCain : A management perspective

There has been a lot of debate and noise about the 2008 US election. Politics, ethics and opinions aside, let’s think about this from a simple facts-and-numbers perspective. Ignore all the controversy of popular vote vs electoral college, etc etc. Let’s consider the contest in the way it’s defined right now.

You have finite resources, and you need to win the election. It costs a fixed amount of effort to convince each person. What’s the most optimal way to win an election?

So you run an optimized campaign. You strategize and make a campaign that gives you a much better “bang for buck”. In a perfect world, you should spend enough time to convince as little over 50% of each constituency and then move on, since you’ve won there and you should spend your resources elsewhere. This should be the primary objective function to measure a campaign’s efficacy.

Using numbers from the Wikipedia :
Obama : 66,495,308 votes, 365 electoral votes. 365/66 = 5.5
McCain : 58,123,419 votes, 162 electoral votes. 162/58= 2.79

Hence, we can see that Obama’s campaign was TWICE more efficient than McCain’s.

If the ability to lead a campaign is any reflection of leadership of the country, this does seem like a decisive victory in leadership skills.

Now, in case someone argues that Obama had more money, let’s look at spending reports from Opensecrets.org:
Obama : 640M$ = 1.75M$ per electoral vote
McCain : 370M$ = 2.28M$ per electoral vote

Again, Obama was 1.3 times more efficient with his donation money.

So overall, 2x efficiency in campaign effort, and 1.3x efficiency in use of money. What I see is a great contest in management, with a clear winner.

|

About the author:

Arnab Nandi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. You can read more about him here.


August 2002 : 9 posts September 2002 : 16 posts October 2002 : 7 posts November 2002 : 21 posts December 2002 : 25 posts January 2003 : 8 posts February 2003 : 11 posts March 2003 : 7 posts April 2003 : 21 posts May 2003 : 14 posts June 2003 : 15 posts July 2003 : 4 posts August 2003 : 16 posts September 2003 : 25 posts October 2003 : 15 posts November 2003 : 24 posts December 2003 : 17 posts January 2004 : 6 posts February 2004 : 8 posts March 2004 : 6 posts April 2004 : 5 posts May 2004 : 29 posts June 2004 : 3 posts July 2004 : 17 posts August 2004 : 19 posts September 2004 : 3 posts October 2004 : 4 posts December 2004 : 1 posts February 2005 : 14 posts March 2005 : 17 posts April 2005 : 8 posts May 2005 : 27 posts June 2005 : 73 posts July 2005 : 44 posts August 2005 : 13 posts September 2005 : 3 posts October 2005 : 9 posts November 2005 : 20 posts December 2005 : 6 posts January 2006 : 25 posts February 2006 : 23 posts March 2006 : 36 posts April 2006 : 35 posts May 2006 : 7 posts June 2006 : 22 posts July 2006 : 20 posts August 2006 : 27 posts September 2006 : 15 posts October 2006 : 6 posts November 2006 : 19 posts December 2006 : 3 posts January 2007 : 4 posts February 2007 : 1 posts March 2007 : 3 posts May 2007 : 5 posts June 2007 : 2 posts July 2007 : 1 posts August 2007 : 13 posts September 2007 : 1 posts October 2007 : 21 posts November 2007 : 7 posts December 2007 : 9 posts January 2008 : 4 posts February 2008 : 13 posts March 2008 : 14 posts April 2008 : 11 posts May 2008 : 12 posts June 2008 : 12 posts July 2008 : 5 posts August 2008 : 10 posts September 2008 : 11 posts October 2008 : 10 posts November 2008 : 8 posts December 2008 : 4 posts January 2009 : 6 posts February 2009 : 13 posts March 2009 : 7 posts April 2009 : 7 posts May 2009 : 2 posts June 2009 : 3 posts July 2009 : 4 posts August 2009 : 4 posts September 2009 : 6 posts October 2009 : 4 posts November 2009 : 7 posts December 2009 : 10 posts January 2010 : 3 posts February 2010 : 2 posts April 2010 : 5 posts May 2010 : 1 posts July 2010 : 4 posts August 2010 : 3 posts September 2010 : 4 posts October 2010 : 1 posts November 2010 : 2 posts December 2010 : 3 posts June 2011 : 1 posts August 2011 : 1 posts November 2011 : 1 posts December 2011 : 1 posts February 2012 : 1 posts May 2012 : 2 posts December 2012 : 1 posts June 2013 : 1 posts August 2013 : 1 posts October 2013 : 2 posts September 2014 : 1 posts November 2014 : 1 posts November 2015 : 2 posts January 2016 : 1 posts January 2017 : 1 posts April 2017 : 2 posts