2012: The Year of Big Data in American Politics

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Author: Linda Rosencrance, Spotfire Blogging Team


Author: Linda Rosencrance, Spotfire Blogging Team

Guess who has the hottest job in the 2012 presidential campaign … is it the chief campaign manager for President Obama, Mitt Romney, or any other GOP candidate?

Well, believe it or not, it’s the data mining scientist—or data analyst. No, really. It’s the person who’s responsible for sorting through tons (read terabytes) of big data to track voter behavior and figure out how they’ll vote, if they’ll donate to a particular campaign and whether they’ll try to persuade their nearest and dearest to vote for one candidate over another.

Traditionally, people running presidential campaigns have relyed on telephone polling to determine the collective will of the voters but that could all change during this presidential campaign. According to the blog, 2012 will be the year of big data in American politics—at least for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

It seems the Obama for America campaign is hot on the trail of paid staffers, including analysts and data geniuses, to use their skills to make a real difference in his campaign to be a second-term president. 

And if you read this article, you’ll discover that some of the millions raised by the president’s re-election campaign might be used to develop “one of the most innovative internal data operations ever for a political campaign.”

Obama’s campaign has been looking to hire predictive modeling, and data mining analysts as well as state data directors who can figure out how best to merge offline data with online data from social media and other online interactions to better target potential voters.

That’s why Obama’s campaign is setting up an in-house analytics department in its Chicago headquarters. The Chicago office will also have specific data anlaysts responsible for certain parts of the country.

At some point, the GOP presidential nominee could also be poised to build a data team like the president, according to the article. However, the president’s re-election campaign has the advanatage of being able to raise funds toward the general election now and use that money to create an internal data operation much sooner than his Republican opponent.

And who among the Republicans do you think would be the most likely candidate to turn to data analaysts to help win the presidential election? Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, whose campaign already has an in-house digital director.

Back in June, I told you that data analyst jobs were hot. Well, it seems like they’re really catching fire now and the trend is likely to continue deep into the decade. If you want to learn more about predictive tools needed to succeed in this hot field, check out a pre-recorded webcast introducing predictive analytics with Spotfire.




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