Analytics and the Making of a President

You may have read about the first use of a computer to predict a presidential election back in 1952 when a UNIVAC helped CBS News predict the victory of Dwight Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson. In fact, UNIVAC made the prediction just a half hour after the polls closed on the East Coast, but CBS waited until it was more confident later in the evening. Now, that was big news back then!

Move forward six decades, and presidential campaigns and the media that cover them don't make a move without computers and analytics. Candidates get feedback on audience reactions to their appearance and bold statements almost in real time. Campaign managers know which states they can feel confident about carrying and where they need to focus. Polls, past voting records, and social media analysis all shape the candidates' messages, right down to narrowly focused issues in a single city.

In 2012 President Obama had more than 100 data scientists on his reelection campaign. In 2016, there's a chance that number could be dwarfed by the data staffs for the two major parties. Data isn't just predicting outcomes, it is shaping the voters' minds.

Rick Hutley, director of the analytics program at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, put his masters program candidates to work researching how analytics are changing the way politicians campaign."A campaign is no different than any other business when it comes to analytics these days," he says.

Hutley joins All Analytics Radio on Thursday, July 21, at 2 pm EDT to discuss what he has learned about the use of analytics in campaigns. What you learn by attending can provide insight into what the candidates know about you and millions of other citizens, and it can demonstrate what your organization can do with analytics, perhaps in ways you never imagined.

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