Will Computer Programmers Elect the Next President?

It might seem far-fetched at first.  But, computer programmers and analysts known as Data Scientists might very well be responsible for electing the next President of the United States of America.  How can that possibly be?  Let’s discuss the evolution of, and the revolution in, high tech elections.

What is the Role of Your Personal Data, Big Data, and the 2016 Presidential Race?

Chances are, you didn’t realize that virtually everything you do today is a digital transaction.  Using your smartphone, tapping an app, using your tablet, viewing a TV program, buying lunch at a fast food restaurant, shopping for groceries, buying gas for your car, answering an online survey, visiting a website, all are typical examples of citizens leaving a digital footprint wherever they go.  It’s reasonable to assume that most everything you do today will be captured digitally and stored somewhere, possibly in the cloud.

All of those trillions of bits of information, so-called Big Data, are then available for companies, governments, and even political campaigns to do data mining on.

What is Data Mining and Analytics?

Data mining is the process of slicing and dicing Big Data into meaningful information that is often actionable.  It is the analysis and organization of data into insights, trends, and ideas that help decision-makers (whether they are corporate management, government analysts, or presidential candidates) with reaching individual customers, citizens, or potential voters.

Data mining is also called analytics because it uses a variety of mathematical and statistical techniques for analysis of the data.  Predictive analytics is the special branch of analytics that makes future predications of behavior.  For example, if a campaign manager can reasonably predict which 400,000 of voters in Ohio are likely to actually vote on election day out of 1,000,000 still undecided potential voters, a campaign can micro-target those 400,000 voters and can save money and resources by not pursuing the other 600,000 undecided voters that have a very high probability of not voting.  Data analytics can also actually help the campaign decide the best media to reach individuals voters.  For example, some potential voters respond best to TV, others to radio, still others to bus stop bench signs.  Micro-targeting can be very focused and very specific based on actual data.

What Will Presidential Campaigns in 2016 Do with Analytics?

Analytics will help bring the most important and tailored information about a candidate’s views and policy positions to individual voters based on the voter’s interests and views.  For example, if a potential voter is interested in Second Amendment gun rights, analytics will tailor a message to the voter about a presidential candidate’s gun rights position, not about the candidate’s illegal immigration views.  Analytics will also help determine how many new voters will need to be registered to win a particular State that might currently be an electoral toss-up.  Analytics can also be used to identify potential new donors and micro-target the most appealing donor letter or online ad.  The list goes on and on.

One other interesting use of analytics is the ability to test multiple messages to similar voters and then, broadcast the best message to others with individual profiles that are comparable.

One Example – The Ted Cruz Presidential Campaign

Just to show Big Data, data mining and analytics is real, consider the Ted Cruz campaign.  As of last week, the Ted Cruz campaign already had 10 Ph.D.’s hired working on data mining in his Houston headquarters.

The Ted Cruz campaign is already thinking about hiring another 10 analytics experts.

Will Computer Programmers Elect the Next  President?

In 2016, the next president might be elected not just for their positions on issues and the ability to make good stump speeches and TV appearances, but also because of the creativity and communications effectiveness of the computer programmers in their analytics team.  Conversely, a great candidate with a so-so analytics team might lose the election to a candidate with a better digital campaign team.

Bookmark and Share
This entry was posted in Presidential Elections. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.