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The New York Times Magazine recently featured an article about North Carolina's Democratic Governor, Mike Easley. In American political circles this fellow is an anomaly. While almost every southern political position is now filled by a conservative Republican, this progressive Democrat has convinced his right-wing constituency to elect him – twice.
In this article, Easley credits much of his success to a deeper understanding of the electorate than his fellow Democrats or Republican opposition. This is based upon his unconventional, yet efficient, way of developing this understanding.
Politics is a world in which most decisions are driven by quantitative data. However, while Governor Easley does not eschew polls, he doesn't totally rely on them either. Instead, he balances the quantitative information he receives from polling with a more fully dimesionalized picture and emotional understanding of his voter.