Why does Obama need statisticians?


It’s worth following up a little on why the Obama campaign is recruiting statisticians (note to Karen: I am not looking for a new job!). Here’s the blurb for the position of “Statistical Modeling Analyst”:

The Obama for America Analytics Department analyzes the campaign’s data to guide election strategy and develop quantitative, actionable insights that drive our decision-making. Our team’s products help direct work on the ground, online and on the air. We are a multi-disciplinary team of statisticians, mathematicians, software developers, general analysts and organizers - all striving for a single goal: re-electing President Obama. We are looking for staff at all levels to join our department from now through Election Day 2012 at our Chicago, IL headquarters.

Statistical Modeling Analysts are charged with predicting electoral outcomes using statistical models. These models will be instrumental in helping the campaign determine how to most effectively use its resources.

I wonder if there’s a bonus for predicting the correct outcome, win or lose?

The Obama campaign didn’t invent the idea of heavy data analysis in campaigns, but they seem to be heavy adopters. There are 3 openings in the “Analytics” category as of today.

Now, can someone tell me why they don’t just call it simply “Statistics”?