Efficient modeling, analytics, and targeting for progressive campaigns of all sizes

The Latest

We're Hiring!

Pivotal Targeting is hiring junior and senior analysts to join our team in Southern California.

Read More »

2014 RootsCamp

Pivotal Targeting will be at RootsCamp and will have a table at the career fair!

Read More »

Survey Sampling

Contemporary survey research requires a sophisticated approach to sampling.

Read More »

Our Services

The research team at Pivotal Targeting brings together experts in a diverse range of quantitative methods, and draws upon experience in both academic and applied research. This expertise allows us to take part in every stage of projects, from the initial research design and data collection through the analysis and interpretation of results. Some of our previous work includes:

Support Targeting

Find your supporters, your opponents, and everyone on the fence

When you need to make sure your supporters hit the polls or target people who agree with you on a specific issue, you need supporter targeting. We can manage the survey design, data collection, modeling, and scoring process from beginning to end, or we can plug in to your existing team.

Our cloud analytics infrastructure lets us scale up to the data collection and modeling needs of national organizations and also scale down to the budgets of local groups. All of our clients benefit from our toolbox of modern machine learning techniques, validation and diagnostic tools, and deep experience modeling ideology, preferences, and behavior.

Learn More

Persuasive Targeting

Find who you can move to support you and your issues

When you need to bring in new supporters, or get people off the fence and on your side, we will find the people you need to talk to. We use field and survey experiments coupled with machine learning algorithms to find out whose behavior you actually change, and how much of an impact you are having.

For large campaigns, we test a variety of messages and determine which message will work best for each individual, so you can pick out different messages to send to different groups of people to get large effects with minimal blowback.

Learn More

Persuasion Messaging and Modeling

Determine which messages actually change voters’ behavior

What works in focus groups or around a conference table doesn’t always work in the real world. We can tell you which messages are actually working when you run them in the field. Careful experimental design coupled with efficient, scalable analytics let us return results quickly. That lets you run several rounds of message testing and optimization in the time it used to take to run a single experiment.

Learn More

Machine Learning

Implement modeling and scoring systems for large-scale, integrated targeting and optimization

Over the years, we have developed internal systems for modeling and scoring massive behavioral databases along with tools for scalable modeling and scoring, high-frequency model updates, automated modeling along with automated diagnostics, and model-based optimization of data collection to maximize the return on investment of acquiring new data.

Learn More

Survey Optimization

Get better information at lower cost by optimizing your sampling and analysis processes

  • Optimize sampling of tracking polls to go after the most informative respondents
  • Produce complex surveys using stratified samples and panel designs
  • Develop platforms for collecting and managing survey data from multiple sources
  • Model survey nonresponse to validate and improve sampling and weighting
Learn More

Specialized Statistical Analysis and Modeling

Get past roadblocks that are stopping your analytics workflow, and let us help you avoid mistakes.

In our combined decades of experience modeling human behavior, we have run into and solved a massive variety of analytical problems, and we have a large repository of statistical methods and computational tools to overcome them.

If you’re stuck on a problem and don’t know how to work around it, let us know and we’ll see what we can do to help.

Learn More

Pivotal Targeting was formed in 2012 to defeat anti-labor ballot propositions in California, and has expanded to other areas of Democratic campaigning. Our team members have backgrounds in academics and political campaigning; our goal is to bring high-level analytics to progressive and Democratic causes.

Meet the Team

Peter Foley, Ph.D.

Founder and Technical Chief

Peter leads the computing side of Pivotal Targeting. He received his Ph.D. in 2013 from the California Institute of Technology, where his research focused on voter ideology, ideological stability and influence, and the neurological factors underlying political preferences. Dr. Foley served as a consultant to Obama For America from summer 2011 through the 2012 election. Before graduate school, he worked as the Senior Analyst at Strumwasser and Woocher, LLP after completing BS degrees at Caltech in Social Sciences and in Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Contact Peter: pwfoley@pivotaltargeting.com

R. Michael Alvarez, Ph.D.

Founder and Special Advisor

Mike advises PT’s survey and experimental design teams. He is a Professor of Political Science at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, California. Alvarez has been at the forefront of efforts to find new ways to model political behavior and public policies, ranging from modeling how people vote, to survey methodology, to analyzing the effects of electoral reform. He is a Fellow of the Society for Political Methodology, and is currently co-­‐editor of the leading journal, Political Analysis.

He served as a Special Advisor to Greenberg, Quinlan and Rosner Research (2004-­2008), and was a consultant to The Mellman Group on research regarding Hispanic and Latino voters for the John Kerry campaign. More recently he served as a consultant to Obama For America (2011-­2012). He has also recently conducted research for policy organizations like Demos and California Forward, on issues like voter registration and primary process reform.

Contact Mike: rmalvarez@pivotaltargeting.com

Lauren Martinez, Ph.D.

Senior Analyst

Lauren works in client-facing roles and is involved in project coordination, data analysis, method development and reporting. She received her doctoral degree in behavioral research methods from the University of Southern California (USC). Prior to joining Pivotal Targeting, Dr. Martinez worked as the Market Research Lead at New Matter, an Idealab company. She also teaches as a Part-Time Lecturer at USC.

Contact Luke: lcmartinez@pivotaltargeting.com

Michael Abbott


Mike plays key roles in project coordination, client interaction, and business development at Pivotal Targeting. He previously served as Regional Targeting Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2012 campaign cycle, and has worked on a number of political campaigns. Mike received his Master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University in 2011.

Contact Mike: mgabbott@pivotaltargeting.com

Julia Walters


Julia assists with data processing, analysis, and modeling. She graduated from Carleton College in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. Julia previously worked as a research assistant by teaching statistics to high school students, and as a tutor of math and German.

Contact Julia: jmwalters@pivotaltargeting.com

Thomas Brennan

Junior Analyst

Thomas assists with data processing, analysis, and modeling. He previously worked on a number of political campaigns. Thomas graduated in 2012 from the University of British Columbia, where he received Bachelor’s degrees in physics and political science.

Contact Thomas: tbrennan@pivotaltargeting.com

Samuel Roberts

Junior Analyst

Samuel assists with data management, analysis, and reporting. He previously worked as an organizer and in data on a number of campaigns throughout the South. Samuel graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics.

Contact Samuel: sroberts@pivotaltargeting.com

Christine Tran

Junior Analyst

Christine assists with data processing, data analysis, and modeling. She graduated from Boston University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Christine previously worked as an IT specialist at Boston University’s Information Services and Technology department.

Contact Christine: ctran@pivotaltargeting.com

Our Clients Include

Contact Us

Send us a message

Address: 16 N. Marengo Ave. Suite 510 Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone: (626) 421-6569
Email: info@pivotaltargeting.com
Twitter: @Pivot_Targeting