The article, “How Hillary’s Campaign is (Almost Certainly) Using Big Data” by Eric Seigel, speaks about how Big Data is utilized by politicians, specifically Barack Obama and most likely Hillary Clinton (both of whom are Democrats), as an asset to the campaigns they are running. The author speaks of the evidence that Hillary Clinton is using Big Data as a tool in her campaign based on her traction, the type of people she is looking to hire, and the contracts she has with BlueLabs, an analytics service, and Civis Analytics. Seigel then finishes the article off with an interview with an analyst who worked for Obama and his opinions on how Big Data will be used in this upcoming election. This article makes excellent points about how useful Big Data really is when it comes to things such as elections.
In elections, data and collecting data, are imperative to success because of what the data is able to tell the candidate about where they are going right and where they are going wrong. It also allows for manipulations as the candidate can see what a majority of the public wants and does not want in a candidate. Seigel uses the words “mass voter persuasion” and I think that phrasing it this way is quite accurate. Just as candidates can collect data, they can use it all the same in order to connect with a larger audience, one that is able to hear what they have desired to hear. Contenders can use the data to zero in on the aspects in which it is more useful or beneficial for them to focus on, which in turn helps them save resources and allocate them in the right direction. Campaigns can be more concise and has proven to be more effective than traditional campaigns. Instead of promoting through means that might or might not work, a campaign can instead use Big Data to produce ads and use their budget in a way that they know will work and be effective.
Analytics is also useful for forecasting by making use of polls and poll numbers. This way, campaigns have the ability to influence their own future rather than sit around and wait to see if their current strategy is successful. The interview with Dan Porter, shed light on the unpredictability of voters and the constant shift of the uplift modeling. It is impossible to fully know what the outcome will be come election day. But, this data and model allow them to check in on the persuadable voters and what would sway them such as campaign, message, and timing. There is not enough evidence to prove that Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, is or is not using Big Data as a tool in his campaign, but it is certain that without it he is at a disadvantage. Big Data proves to be once again an essential and freely available instrument of importance.