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Big data a game changer in election campaigns - reveals insight into voters' picks

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Big data has become an important investment for most companies as they look to benefit from predictive analytics. As Tuesday's ballots are cast for the 2012 presidential election, it may become apparent which candidate did a better job of capitalizing on big data - because information that's been collected and verified for data quality can also be used to anticipate who voters will pick.

"After JFK, you couldn't win an election without television. After Obama, you couldn't win an election without social networking. I predict that in 2012, you won't be able to win an election without big data," said Alastair Croll in an interview with the O'Reilly Radar just before the start of the calendar year.

As political campaigns have gained the ability to collect information about individuals' political preferences, buying habits, annual earnings, names, genders and addresses, they have been able to create targeted messages and send them through the most effective mediums at the most opportunistic moment, Keya Dannenbaum, Founder and CEO of ElectNext, told The Huffington Post.

This is a huge switch from past elections, in which voters were much more concerned about the details of candidates personal lives, Tarun Wadhwa, research Fellow at Singularity University, wrote in a separate article for the Post. Now, even the type of soda a voter prefers can reveal information about the ballot \ he or she will cast, with Diet Dr. Pepper drinkers most likely to vote for Mitt Romney and Pepsi drinkers tending to favor President Barack Obama, Wadhwa writes.