Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Andy Thurai

Related Topics: @DXWorldExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, Apache, SDN Journal

@DXWorldExpo: Article

Big Data and Politics: Influencing Both Sides of the Aisle

Seven political tactics inspired by Big Data

Data has always had a place in politics. Politicians have relied on polls, voter interests and demographics for years. In 2008, the Obama campaign was recognized for its data-driven campaign, but it wasn’t until the 2012 election, when the tools became available, that big data was used to target voters and win a presidential election using methods that had never been used before.

Much like businesses, political parties have collected a lot of data over the years, but that data has been siloed into various categories: donations, website visits, social media comments. While each of these categories are useful, the ability to combine and analyze all of this data together creates new opportunities to target each individual voter, but until recently it was much too costly to do so. Now with the creation of Hadoop and Hadoop as a Service vendors, big data is being used by both parties to influence state and national elections alike.

Using big data starts with having a data collection and analysis tool. For the democrats that is the Voter Activation Network that they used in the last few election cycles. Republicans started later in the game and are yet to come up with a solution universal to the party, but an influential group in Texas has developed RVotes as its own voter database and outreach tool. Of course, when it comes down to it, it’s not about collecting data but using it in a meaningful way, so let’s take a look at some tactics made possible by by big data.

1. The Mini Donation
One clever tactic the Obama campaign used was running TV ads asking for a mini donation of $10. While this may have appeared as grassroots fundraising or some kind of PR stunt, the goal of the ads was actually to collect cell phone data. In order to donate, viewers were asked to text GIVE to the campaign’s number. Once all of those donors’ numbers were collected, they could be sent additional campaign messages that the campaign knew could be targeted directly toward Obama supporters.

2. Smart Canvassing
Canvassing is not a particularly new or high-tech political tactic, but knowing exactly what a person’s political views or most important interests are is. There is a mobile app available that volunteers can use to access just that kind of information while canvassing, so they can be better prepared before knocking on the door. The app also allows volunteers to enter in information, such as whether the person was familiar with the candidate and whether they were likely to vote for a candidate along with any other useful information that could later be used in get-out-the-vote efforts.

3. Targeted Ads
Most of us have probably noticed the difference in political ads the last couple of elections. Rather than seeing a good mix of ads from both parties, it seemed like certain ads followed us around no matter which site we visited. That is because campaigns were using big data to target ads based on a person’s likelihood to vote for a particular candidate as well as issues pertinent for them. For example, running ads about decreasing the cost of health insurance specifically to those who are uninsured.

4. Grassroots Approach
A major shift created by big data is that communication is no longer about the number of TV ads you run, but rather how many neighborhoods and voter groups you reach. Big data has provided the resources to return to grassroots politics en masse. For example, political groups collect information on which issues are important to particular neighborhoods and then ask for votes by focusing on those issues.

5. Smart Fundraising
Fundraising is critical to the success of any campaign, so naturally campaigns are using big data to draw in more donations as well. The Maryland Republican Party, for example, used data analytics to determine how likely an individual was to donate as well as the amount they could donate based on wealth to arrive $17,000 ahead of its fundraising schedule.

6. Public Sentiment Measurement
Polls are biased and often give a poor view of which way the vote is really going to go. Online behavior, on the other hand, can give a much better idea of what people are really thinking. Campaigns have started analyzing twitter, online comments and other activities to determine which candidate that voter is more likely to support.

7. Interpreting Constituent Behavior
Finally, determining what causes a party loyalist to switch over to another party can be particularly useful for a minority party or a presidential candidate campaigning in swing states. The Obama campaign used big data to create a rating system to predict how each voter was likely to behave. The four indicators included likelihood of supporting Obama, likelihood of voting, likelihood to be influenced by reminders to vote and, in the case of non-supporters, likelihood to change their mind based on a particular issue.

With its success rate so far, big data will become increasingly influential in the political arena as tactics become even more sophisticated and targeted, but it’s long-term effects are yet to be determined. How do you see big data affecting politics in the long term?

More Stories By Gil Allouche

Gil Allouche is the Vice President of Marketing at Qubole. Most recently Sr. Director of Marketing for Karmasphere, a leading Big Data Analytics company offering SQL access to Apache Hadoop, where he managed all marketing functions, Gil brings a keen understanding of the Big Data target market and its technologies and buyers. Prior to Karmasphere, Gil was a product marketing manager and general manager for the TIBCO Silver Spotfire SaaS offering where he developed and executed go-to-market plans that increased growth by 600 percent in just 18 months. Gil also co-founded 1Yell, a social media ad network company. Gil began his marketing career as a product strategist at SAP while earning his MBA at Babson College and is a former software engineer.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Ed Featherston has been named the "Tech Chair" of "FinTechEXPO - New York Blockchain Event" of CloudEXPO's 10-Year Anniversary Event which will take place on November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York will present keynotes, general sessions, and more than 20 blockchain sessions by leading FinTech experts.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of ...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and Bi...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...