The media and pundits are all in awe at the irresistible rise of Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump. But even they agree that an insufficient and weak data strategy could prove to be his undoing. If the contest goes to the wire, Big Data Analytics could play a significant role in deciding the winner. Donald Trump has berated the technology through most of his campaign, calling it “overrated.”
“I’ve always felt it [Big Data] was overrated. Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine. And I think the same is true with me,” Trump has been sayig. Although he has used social media and traditional media coverage for promotion, his strategy of not leveraging Big Data may eventually turn against him and put him at a disadvantage as compared to his more analytically-suave challengers. While other candidates entered into arrangements and partnerships with data strategists, the sole exception had been Trump, who has instead relied heavily on his own personal appeal. He has, in fact, been critical of Big Data Analytics during his campaigns.
Related Read: The Internet Just Got Trumped To “The Cyber”
But now, in the last moments, Trump has made a U-turn. In the month of September alone, Trump paid a Big Data Analytics UK firm Cambridge Analytica $5 million to help target voters. The company has made claims that it has data on around 230 million people in the USA, with around 4000 “data points” on every one of them, including charity donations, card transactions, and gym and club memberships. All this is a last minute effort to analyze the voter and how to make them change their minds.
On the other hand, the Hillary Clinton camp went all out to mine data from every source: voter registration, public records, social media activity, among several other sources. They followed the data strategy that Barack Obama used to great success earlier in 2012. Many election analysts have credited Obama’s Big Data initiatives for his second election win, saying that his tactics have set up a novel precedent for how election campaigns of the future would be run.
In the 2012 presidential election campaign, Obama used path-breaking data analytics. He focused on swing voters, believing there was no point in wooing those who had already made up their minds. A team of more than 100 data analysts ran 66,000 simulations every day and put together data from several sources: charities and donations, public department information, and voter registration records. They also bought third-party commercial data (including data collected from social media). Clinton’s campaign team has also developed a coordinated campaign, relying heavily on cutting-edge analytics to target swing voters.
Ironically, even when Trump has belatedly decided to go for a data-centric strategy, he has followed the traditional path—one that was followed in 2012. In his calculations, he hasn’t taken into account that Big Data Analytics has been evolving fast and uncovering new territories to mine and curate data. Those novelties make the 2012 strategies look old school. Over the last four years, private companies have sharpened Big Data Analytics tools, adding Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Analytics, Machine Learning, Sentiment Analysis, and Language Processing to the mix.
“Data mining techniques have hugely expanded in scope. Machine learning is a helpful in increasing the correlation between the information mined and how it correlates to inference. With self-learning inbuilt, the tool adapts and learns in every new situation, giving a distinct advantage to a someone leveraging this technology,” said Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera, a global leader in Cloud that has developed its own Big Data tool.
Poll pundits on both sides agree that Democrats have a sizable lead in collection of information on voters and feel that its smart use could be the difference, particularly if it is a close call. While Clinton has inherited the database that Obama built, it remains to be seen how successfully she is able to leverage it. Whatever be the outcome, there is one thing that has been established beyond doubt: the candidate with the smartest data wins.
(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors. All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)
Image Credits: theconversation.com
About The Author:
Technology Evangelist, avid blogger and enthusiast, and basically a storyteller at heart. With more than 10 years of experience in journalism, Muqbil Ahmar has enjoyed his stints with other media like TV, magazines, and Web. When not surrounded by startup and tech stories, he likes to dig for inspirational ones.
He writes on Cloud, Big Data, IoT, startups, SMEs, Enterprises, Technology, ERP, CRM, and everything under the sun—viewed from the prism of new era tech. An MPhil from JNU has made him liberal and tolerant. Music and food are his passion which keeps him going, apart from buzzing off whenever the opportunity arises. You can tweet him at @muqbil_ahmar or connect through LinkedIn and Facebook.