Sven Löffler
26. October 2016 0

Social Media, Data Mining and Big Data – The Keys of US Elections

Big Data is becoming more and more important, not only in personal life, but also in areas such as the US Elections. Data collecting, data preparing and data analysis are important technologies to target the right voters to ensure their votes for upcoming elections.

How did it all begin?

The topic of Big Data in elections started 1970 with opinion polls. Today, potential voters are analyzed one the one hand directly by telephone surveys, polls and preselections and on the other hand indirectly. There are many different ways of indirect analysis. In the US, it is possible to obtain more data which is used for algorithms and programs. In Germany this is not possible at this depth for reasons of data protection.

Technology for the win?

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the best examples. While Donald Trump is currently more (or less) competitive with traditional advertising like baseball caps and pens labeled “Make America great again.”. This could be the end of his wannabe presidential life on the 8th of November. According to experts, one cannot win the US Elections without smart data technologies.
The victory of Barack Obama 2012 was also justified by the technical possibilities of the Democrats. Obama gathered a team of 52 programmers and analysts together who were using a variety of ways to selectively target groups of votes.
The “Hope and Change” campaign of 2008 is counted as a revolution in election management. Technology, like data analysis, and politics had to be connected. Methods that Obama’s team had developed in 2008 and then refined in 2012.

Obama’s Team

One method that was also used by Obama’s team 2012, is to run algorithms over voter databases and to search for potential voters. The obtained information is then reconciled with other databases. Following to that you can find out:

  • who has voted who for past elections
  • who voted regularly and
  • who has donated for campaigns or one of the parties.
  • These data can be enriched with other data such as payback data. The more the merrier. This enables creating an accurate picture of each person. Models also allow creating a picture of the typical voter. Thus, possible voters can be recruited individually and larger with customized messages. This “Micro-Targeting” also includes “Cookie-Targeting” in order to analyze internet behavior as well. Afterwards, you know, for example, which persons would vote the respective party, if they would go to the elections.
    These methods, developed by Obama’s Data Scientist Team, are now being used by Hillary Clinton. Some of the former team members have now become self-employed, like the company Bully Pulpit Interactive by Andrew Bleeker, Director of Digital Marketing 2008 and 2012.

    It will be shown, if the technology will be once again the switchman of a victory and make Clinton President on the 8th of November. Despite his classic election campaign, Trump was long ahead of the competition. Who will win this year? “Make America great again.”-Baseball Caps or the massive load of Big Data?

    Big Data Greetings,
    Sven Löffler

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