I Voted.
I Voted. (source: Vox Efx on Flickr).

The problem confronting a modern campaign manager is similar to the problem that any marketer encounters: how to spend finite resources to reach the right people and convince them to act. In this episode of the O’Reilly Bots Podcast, I talk data strategy with Andrew Therriault, chief data officer for the City of Boston. He was previously director of data science for the Democratic National Committee and is the editor of a free O’Reilly ebook called “Data and Democracy: How Political Data Science is Shaping the 2016 Elections.” We talk about how data is changing today’s political campaigns—particularly the way that campaigns now determine which potential supporters to target with phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door contact.

Discussion points:

  • How campaigns are combining different sources of data (including census and consumer data) to augment traditional voter registration information
  • The similarities and differences between political and commercial data science
  • The importance of forecasting and poll aggregation sites (such as FiveThirtyEight.com) in this era when “the polling industry is in a crisis,” says Therriault.
  • How online polling will become increasingly relevant
  • The increasing use of social media data in campaigns
  • How deep learning and neural networks might be used in future campaigns