What did Mitt Romney's campaign do with the huge amount of money it raised? Figure out who in New Hampshire shops at Williams-Sonoma. The campaign used an expensive voter identification program -- now capable of looking at up to 300 pieces of information about a voter, compared to just a couple dozen four years ago -- to find the people most likely to back their candidate, the Los Angeles Times' Maeve Reston reports. Where were they? Fancy cooking stores. Aides "knew his sweet spot was among older, higher-income voters -- those with annual household incomes of between $75,000 and $150,000 and with upscale interests like gourmet cooking," Reston writes. "He was particularly appealing to older women and did best ... among self-identified Republicans." Romney was also popular with people whose purchases centered on kid-related stuff. That's why they spent $1.3 million on ads in New Hampshire that highlighted his long marriage and five sons -- not just because it drew a nice contrast with the thrice-married Newt Gingrich.
You can see all that research in the way Romney's responding to the attacks on his business record. The campaign will portray Romney "as a defender of market capitalism, a bedrock principle of Republicanism, and to suggest that those who assail his business background are outside the party’s mainstream," The New York Times' Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker. (Are you listening, affluent registered Republicans?) In his victory speech Tuesday night, Romney said those criticisms were a mistake for our party and for our nation. The country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy." And who would be sensitive to griping of the less affluent drunk on haterade? Williams-Sonoma voters, maybe? They're the Joneses that the neighbors are trying to keep up with.
The Times' Abby Goodnough and Marjorie Connelly talked to one of those older women voters that Romney appealed to, though she as a little unsure of the things he believes in:
“I leaned to Paul, but I decided to stay with Romney,” said Ms. Rogers, who said that as a medical doctor, Mr. Paul, who opposes abortion, should support abortion rights. Informed that Mr. Romney now opposed abortion in most circumstances, Ms. Rogers did a double take.
“He does?” she asked.
More proof Romney's campaign made good use of their voter data: Exit polls showed he won a plurality of voters who are doing fine financially. He won 55 percent of people who decided before December. CBS News points out that Romney won women by 20 percentage points, won people over 30, and won the suburbs by 19 percentage points. Maybe the Romney machine can't be stopped because conservatives can't settle behind a single anti-Romney. Or maybe it can't be stopped because of science.