Monday, February 6, 2012

Data-mining in Politics

President Obama’s re-election campaign is implementing a data-mining tool, “Project Dreamcatcher.” It uses text analytics to analyze voter’s opinions, so that promoters will know how to influence the electorate.  Rayid Ghani is the “chief scientist” of the operation. He’s determined to help the President recognize patterns in voter’s behavior like he has with consumer behavior in other corporations.  Because of Ghandi’s success in the business world with CRM I believe that “Project Dreamcatcher” will positively affect Obama’s campaign. 
In a retail environment Ghandi was able to use “historical transactional data” to form a personal relationship with individual customers.  According to his paper, Predicting Customer Shopping Lists from Point of Sale Purchase Data, they ran the experiment in a grocery store because they have consistent steadfast customers.  This aspect of the research reflects politics because habitually voters support one political party.  Ghandi’s research is able to predict what products a customer is most like to buy and what promotional strategies will affect individuals.  Analysts can also determine how to influence purchases of different products. “The result is a practical system that increases revenues by up to 11%, and enhances customer experience and loyalty by giving retailers the tools to individually interact with customers and anticipate their needs.” If data mining is able to increase sales in a business environment I think it will increase votes for Obama. 
Through websites such as, “Share your Story” text analytics will be able to analyze individual’s complaints and personalize the way targeters’ campaign to that person. I think that this will increase that voter’s loyalty and influence a deeper connection with their president.   The article on says that “Ghandi could isolate keywords and context, then use statistical patterns gleaned from the examples of millions of voters to discern meaning” of what people are saying on facebook, twitter, and other forms of social media in order to form a campaign platform that the constituency will relate to.  By analyzing a voter’s thought on Obama or controversial issues the campaign can target the individual in a way that could potentially change their ideals.   Obama’s campaign can personalize the data that each person is getting on their individual social media page.
With the execution of “Project Dreamcatcher” campaigning and politics will be significantly changed.  Although, making a personal connection with each voter will take time and money if a voter that is on the fence can be targeted and influenced to vote in favor of Obama every vote will count.  According to the article on Obama’s campaign won’t reveal exactly how they plan on analyzing the data they collect. They do not want other candidates to implement their technology.  If every candidate had access to this knowledge then voters would be bombarded with personalized information.  I believe this would increase the amount of voters that participate in the election because the population would become more informed.  This would also make campaigning more expensive because having the data-mining technology would be crucial to competing against other candidates.

Link to main Article:
Friday, Sasha Issenberg|Posted. "Project Dreamcatcher: How Cutting-edge Text Analytics Can Help the Obama Campaign Determine Voters’ Hopes and Fears. - Slate Magazine." Slate Magazine - Politics, Business, Technology, and the Arts - Slate Magazine. Web. 06 Feb. 2012. <>.

Works Cited:
Cumby, Chad, Andrew Fano,Rayid Ghani, and Marko Krema. Predicting Customer Shopping Lists from PointofSale Purchase Data. Accenture Technology Labs. Web. <>.
"Pennsylvania: Share Your Story." Barack Obama. Web. 06 Feb. 2012. <]>.

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