This year’s presidential election is fueled by emotion, and is a race to see who is the smartest, strongest, best choice to lead the United States of America. Like a reality show that we can’t bring ourselves not to watch, anger and passion intermingle with the conflict over candidacy and we try to determine who best to choose. But – what about the voter data that is being cranked out behind the scenes? What about the digital information that is growing smarter, bigger, better, faster, stronger?

How great an impact is technology and analytics having on the election?

“The word we like to use is to weaponize, or actionize [data],” claims David Seawright, Director of Analytics and Product Innovation for “the big data arm of the GOP,” Deep Root Analytics. Deep Root Analytics and TargetSmart are the main firms backing the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively. Analysts concur that the world saw the rise of big data analytics in politics during Barack Obama’s successful campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and because “the art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings” (Kakuzo Okakaura – say that five times fast), political platforms realized the necessary investment in innovative analytics firms.

Alex Woodie’s article delves in to the growing importance of “weaponizing data.” The strategic use of big data is not the advantage, it’s a fundamental tool now. As emphasized by Seawright, “It’s no longer just a top of the ticket luxury–it’s something everyone can and should be doing.” This is a feasible notion since Business Intelligence and Data Discovery Analytics in the current age strive to be as accessible, affordable, and user-friendly as possible. The utilization of analytics in Business Intelligence and Data Discovery is a huge factor in why this year’s presidential race is as neck-and-neck as it is.

Drawing on the powerful influence of emotion in regards to action, Dan Patterson of TechRepublic’s blog looks at the humanizing aspect of data analytics. Campaigns are centered around specific kinds of individuals, arguably, the most important individual is The Voter. Data revealing the voting history, tendencies, likelihood that they will vote this election and who they are likely to vote for this election drives closely targeted campaign advertisements. Not only are these statistics provided, but certain applications change impersonalized e-mail lists into profiles with pictures and biographies. Now, leaders see their supporters as “humans, not entries in a database.”

“The candidate who has a better grasp of who their target constituents are,” explains EMC’s Bill Schmarzo in Big Data and the Race To Be President, “…is able to craft the message and speeches to win the people over…” Big data results in big influence. If candidates have demographic information and now behavioral information (thanks to social media analysis), they have the ability to “laser-focus” in on the voting public and deliver pointed, persuasive campaign messages.

Digital information and social media are colossal elements influencing the 2016 Presidential Election. The way that people engage online has become another metric ranked during this election, and big data will steadfastly remain a powerful tool in the future of politics.

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