Both US campaigns make use of analytics and good practices from Operations Research.

According to an article from ARS technica, the Republican machine, ORCA, didn’t do so well.


  • The Romney campaigns Get Out The Vote mobile app / engine was called ORCA.
  • There were severe deployment failures, including using a single server to power the mobile app, and made a complete mess of secure sign on and credentialization.
  • It cost the Republican ticket many resources, most notably, the time of 30,000 of their greatest supporters many hours of frustration on voting day.


The ORCA’s fail whale has the potential to provide comparative operations researchers a great chance to compare and contrast IT and analytics practices. Good will come out of those studies, which are likely to due to hit the main Operations Research journals in 24 to 36 months.

By most popular accounts, Obama did it better. And this is the culmination of strategic investments Dean made when he headed up the party. It’s hard to tell if Romney had better analysts on his side, and that the failure was rooted in the failure to execute. Either way, intelligence without execution generates mediocre results.

I’m looking forward to the research on this subject in the years to come.


I’m Christopher Berry
I’m at Authintic.