A new social research technique, computer simulation, had its political debut during the Presidential campaign of 1960. The simulation, done for the Democratic Party, amounted to a new way of processing public opinion poll data. This book reports the work as it was actually done in 1960 as well as the changes in and refinements of the technique used in the Presidential election of 1964, and evaluates the successes of the simulations in predicting the outcomes of both elections.
“Because of its novelty,” write the authors, “the Simulmatics project has been the subject of a number of sensationalized newspaper and magazine articles, even a work of fiction, Candidates, Issues, and Strategies endeavors to correct these lurid fantasies. There was no 'people machine'; nor were there superhuman manipulators pulling magic out of computes. Responsible people, not computers, ran the campaign. What was novel was the use of a research technique allowing more intelligent understanding of voter behavior”
Commenting on this work in Book Week, Eric Larrabee wrote, “The authors pf Candidates, Issues, and Strategies are trying to recapture the good name of polling and prediction from... others who have made off with it and they are... remarkably successful. By removing some of the mystery from computer simulation they hope to restore it to its proper place....”
While the book is for the political scientist, and for people concerned with computer simulation techniques, a great many readers will be drawn to its pages who are not specialists, but who want a realistic account of this historic use of the computer in the 1960 and 1964 Presidential campaigns.