Friday, November 9, 2012

Data Crunching, Election Edition

I'm getting more into data analytics, and have been looking for some substantial examples beyond the usual "more and more companies are using analytics" blanket statements from Harvard Business Review. Much to my relief, Time came out with a nice piece about the Obama campaign's use of data in their recent electoral victory.

Full disclosure: I'm a libertarian and was in the 1% of the population that voted for Gary Johnson. Living in Massachusetts, my vote didn't matter anyway. I also voted for Scott Brown for Senate because he is a moderate, though his campaign was poorly managed.

Anyway, the article points out some interesting bits about how the Obama campaign pulled off the win. Through massive computer simulations, data crunching, targeted ads, and efficient door-knocking, they were able to raise $1 billion. That is impressive no matter how you spin it, folks. One can only imagine what upcoming local elections will have.

I have a friend who works in the (spinning down post-election) Elizabeth Warren campaign. He's more on the database-building-mechanics side of things, but he was able to talk about how the campaign used the data to target individual voters. My bet: the scale of analytics used in this year's national election (per voter) will be used at the local level in 2-4 years.

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