June 16th 2011

Obama Campaign Hiring "Data Geniuses"

techPresident reports that the Obama campaign is looking to fill a number of campaign positions, most prominently "analysts and data geniuses."  

Republican candidates for the GOP presidential nomination should take note of this insightful peek into the Obama campaign strategy.  Big data and the ecosystem surrounding it - predictive analytics, data science, advanced microtargeting, and data visualization, to name just a few - is having a moment, and it only makes sense that political campaigns would seek to leverage its unique and stunning power.   

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May 31st 2011

The Debt Ceiling

We were recently asked by Resurgent Republic to adapt our Independent Congress visualization to data regarding an upcoming vote by the House of Representatives on the debt ceiling.  

From their website, here's a look at the data we were tasked with visualizing:

This week the House of Representatives will consider President Obama’s request to raise the federal debt limit without any preconditions related to limiting spending. This policy, the so-called “clean” debt ceiling hike, is opposed by 9 in 10 voters, according to a Resurgent Republic survey conducted jointly with the American Action Forum...Yet 6 in 10 House Democrats support raising the debt limit without any accompanying spending cuts or budgetary reforms, a business-as-usual position that strongly cuts against the grain of public opinion.

And here is the result, embedded after the jump...

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May 25th 2011

It's The Data, Stupid.

Over at techPresident, Micah Sifrey has a must-read piece, “2012 Election: It’s not Facebook. It’s the Data, Stupid.” In it, he argues that despite media attention on candidate’s social networking prowess (measured by likes, retweets, followers and friends), the real technological battle to watch lies in candidate data collection and use:

“Facebook and other third-party social network platforms aren’t the central battlefield. It’s data and targeting and figuring out how to use online strategies to enable motivated volunteers to identify, persuade and get out the vote.”

We couldn’t agree more...

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May 18th 2011

Canadian MicroTargeting

About two weeks ago, Canada’s Conservative party won a decisive majority government. Interestingly, many attribute this win to the party’s aggressive use of MicroTargeting and predictive analytics. In the weeks leading up to the election, The Globe and Mail ran a piece on this phenomenon: “Micro-Targeting lets parties conquer ridings, one tiny group at a time.”

In simpler times, political parties aimed at broad swaths of the population. Tailoring a message for women voters or blue-collar workers was considered the height of sophistication. But the new thinking suggests that’s a waste of time and money. Why examine broad categories when you can narrow your message to the five per cent of people you really need to sway?

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May 12th 2011

Seeing is Remembering

Yesterday Andrew Sullivan highlighted an Ignite presentation by TargetPoint's Alex Lundry, in which he discusses the political power of data visualization.  

Sullivan was particularly taken by this quote from the presentation:

Vision is our most dominant sense. It takes up 50% of our brain’s resources. And despite the visual nature of text, pictures are actually a superior and more efficient delivery mechanism for information. In neurology, this is called the ‘pictorial superiority effect’ [...] If I present information to you orally, you’ll probably only remember about 10% 72 hours after exposure, but if I add a picture, recall soars to 65%. So we are hard-wired to find visualization more compelling than a spreadsheet, a speech of a memo.

You can see Lundry's full 5 minute talk below:

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