Big Data

Using big data tools, election candidates can target voters more efficiently. / Photo by: I'm friday via Shutterstock

 

With the elections expected to set the stage in the United States, people were seen scrambling to garner votes in as many ways as possible. Many of the candidates were looking to using big data tools to more efficiently target their respective voters. This led Americans receiving strange phone calls or text messages from unknown numbers about a variety of political candidates in their area.

This method became part of the new push led by both political parties to get as many voters as possible but, at the same time, target voters who would be willing to vote for them. The parties would be able to acquire a large amount of data from different sources and compile them into a single platform. This data can range from the voter's previous history of voting to the state they live in. This has been described as the new age of political strategy, as opposed to using traditional methods like newspaper and print media. Before the Internet or big data, political parties had to rely on a voter’s home address, party affiliation, and other simple data points. There are a number of modern firms that use more complex forms of data management, such as L2 Political, which combines traditional voter information records with modern data files used by large tech companies.

Paul Westcott, the current vice president of L2 Political, stated, “Our data comes from a variety of sources, including states, and countries and municipalities that provide the raw voter data, once that data is brought in, it is scrubbed against the national change of address database, the Social Security death index, and commercial files among scores of other checks.” Political parties and campaigns use the massive datasets offered by big data to micro-target influential, small groups of voters. This year's elections are expected to exhibit just how well these sorts of tools work.