Fareed Zakaria speaks with New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg about how the two campaigns steered people to vote in this week’s presidential election. For the full interview, watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.
"One of the things that the campaigns have done is they’ve tried to vacuum up everything that they can, " Charles Duhigg tells Fareed Zakaria. "It used to be that when someone was running for office, they would get into the voter file, right? And it would say someone’s name, where they lived and their party affiliation and whether they ever have before.
"Now, each campaign has literally thousands of data points on you. They know what magazines you subscribe to. They know if you've ever declared bankruptcy or gone into foreclosure. They know how many kids you have. They know if you ever bought a boat, what type of insurance you own, where you send your kids to school.
"Thousands and thousands of data points they collect, to try and create an image of you. And at the center of that is the same question, how can I push your button to vote for my guy or gal?"
And what have been the surprising things that are predictive of whether or not you're going to vote, whether you’re likely to be a Republican or a Democrat?
"Well, what's interesting is a lot of it, as you mentioned, is…the other places you go. Like we didn’t know, for instance, that Romney supporters go to Olive Garden and that Obama supporters go to Red Lobster. But knowing that is actually really useful, because that means that Romney can go buy ads inside Olive Gardens and say…if you don't often vote, come out to the polls, because I know you’re going to vote for me.
"And there’s really two elections going on here, the first of which is to try and persuade people, and the second of which is to try and convince people just to vote.
"Keep in mind, you know, still a majority of Americans don’t actually vote in the presidential election. And so a big goal for Obama and for Romney was just to say we know that if we can get you into the polls, you're going to pull the lever for me guy. I just want to convince you get into that polling station."