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Friday
Oct142016

Data-driven Campaigning in 2016

The most recent meeting of the Government Analytics Breakfast forum featured Dr. Vanessa Perez, a lecturer with the MS in Government Analytics program and expert on voting and elections.  Dr. Perez's talk, How the 2016 Campaigns Use (and Don't Use) Data, examined the ways in which political campaigns rely on data to shape their mobilization and persuasion strategies.

Dr. Perez began by discussing the types of datasets historically and currently available to parties and campaigns.  Following the implementation of the Help America Vote Act (2002), voter data files have become much cleaner, richer and accessible.  Campaigns can now access individual-level datasets that include (depending on the state) voters' names, addresses, race, party identification and turnout history.  These datasets, merged with widely available consumer data, provide campaigns with tremendous predictive power when identifying existing and potential supporters.

One of the chief uses of data by campaigns is the identification of "persuadables" -- individuals who might be convinced to support the candidate if targeted with the right message.  If the state provides party ID data, campaigns will often target self-identified independents who have voted in prior elections (as the strongest predictor of whether someone will vote in a current election is his/her turnout history).  If the state does not provide party ID data, campaigns will try to identify persuadables using other variables, such as citizens' neighborhood characteristics.

In the 2016 election, both the Trump and Clinton campaigns have embraced data-driven strategies, though in different ways and to different degrees.  While the Clinton campaign has built off the strategy and infrastructure developed by the Obama campaigns, Trump has implemented a "radically different strategy for a radically different candidate."  Rather than targeting habitual voters, the Trump campaign is focused on new voters -- voters who have a high likelihood of supporting Trump but may not have voted consistently (if at all) in the past.  The election results and exit poll data will provide insight into the effectiveness of the candidates' strategies.

Many thanks to Dr. Perez for fascinating and enlightening talk.

You can view the full presentation here.

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Reader Comments (9)

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November 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterinternetseekho

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November 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterinternetseekho

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December 4, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterسود پرک

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December 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFURNTURE JEPARA

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December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterParul

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December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMEBEL JATI

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