Romney Campaign Enlists Help of ‘Killer Whale’ Project to Get Out the Vote


For months now, the Romney campaign has been putting together a high-tech voter monitoring operation to use on Election Day that will identify which of their committed supporters have voted — and then corral those who haven’t.

They call it the Orca Project, named for the powerful killer whale. Why Orca? It seems the Orca is the greatest natural predator of the Narwhal, the name of the Obama campaign’s top secret voter micro-targeting system.

Orca will deploy 34,000 operatives in key precincts tomorrow, linked by a smartphone “killer app” to 800 volunteers on the floor of TD Garden (formerly Boston Garden). The Romney campaign has tried to keep Orca under wraps until the past few days. But today, Romney for President Communications Director Gail Gitcho proudly described it for us. Watch the interview with Gitcho above.

“At 5 o’clock when the exit polls come out, we won’t pay attention to that,” Gitcho said Monday. “We will have had much more scientific information just based on the political operation we have set up.”

Similarly, Election Day for President Obama’s campaign will be the culmination of an extensively detailed and precise get out the vote effort put together by the Democrats.

For several months, the Obama campaign has been operating sophisticated efforts, most notably code named Dreamcatcher and Narwhal, gathering information and sorting voters using a comprehensive set of analytics. Placing potential supporters in categories based on such seemingly benign information as the grocery stores they shop at or brand of beer they drink. From there the campaign has been able to identify voting trends based on specific issues and has targeted its messaging appropriately to maximize the efficiency of its efforts.

On election day, the Obama campaign will shift to its final phase, with Gordon — a vote tracking system similar to the Project Houdini effort it launched on election day four years ago. Gordon seems to be less ambitious than Houdini was. Four years ago, the Obama campaign assigned each of its likely voters a four digit code that would be messaged to a database by a poll site volunteer after the voter had signed in. The effort overheated and this year the Obama campaign has decided to use a less robust tracking system and divert volunteers to other, more traditional get out the vote efforts.

Alex Bruns contributed to this report.