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Next Generation Political Campaign Platform?

[This post is by David K. Park]

I’ve been imagining the next generation political campaign platform. If I were to build it, the platform would have five components:

  1. Data Collection, Sanitization, Storage, Streaming and Ingestion: This area will focus on the identification and development of the tools necessary to acquire the correct data sets for a given campaign, sanitizing the data and readying it for ingestion into the analytical components of the framework. This includes geotagged social media data, such as Twitter, fB, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, etc.  and traditional local news, etc. focused not only on the candidate but challenger as well.
    • [side note (and potentially useless) idea: Embed rfid or inexpensive sensors to campaign lawn signs so we can measure how many people/cars pass by the sign.]
  2. Referential Data Sets: This area will focus on the identification and development of data sets that are referential in nature. Such sets might be databases and/or services to assist with geolocation, classification, etc. This includes demographic and marketing data, campaign specified sources, such as donors, and surveys as well data from Catalist and the Atlas Project.
  3. Analytics Engine: This area will focus on the identification and development of the tools necessary to provide the core analytical work for the specific project. Here, I’m thinking of statistical (use STAN of course), machine learning and NLP packages, both open source and commercially available. This includes language sentiment analysis, polling trends, and so on.
  4. Model Forms: These would be the models, and the underlying software to drive the models, used within the analysis. We can readily exploit the packages that already exist in this area, whether Python, R, Umbra, etc., and build custom models where necessary. This includes direct marketing impact analysis (i.e., A/B testing campaigns,) overall metrics for campaign health, election prediction, and more.
  5. Interpretation of Results, Data Visualization, and Visual Steering: Identifying and developing the necessary data visualization toolkits necessary to provide insights by adequately displaying the visual representations of quantitative and statistical information. Further, solving the problem of getting resultant data sets to the visualization system in a reliable fashion and making this connection tightly coupled and full duplex, allowing for a visual steering model to emerge. This includes geographic and demographic segmentation, overview of historical political context, results of various marketing messages, etc.

Just a (rough) thought at this point…

3 Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    David:

    This all makes me wonder: how would political campaigning differ in these aspects from any other marketing campaign? I can see a few dimensions that make political campaigning special:
    – Scheduling (known timing of elections)
    – Special role of free media in election reporting
    – Connection to donors (for better or worse, data-based campaigning is not just about persuasion and turnout, it’s also about targeting people who will give you money, and about lobbying to get the government to turn the rules in your favor)

    But is there anything else going on? How does political ideology fit in? How is this different from selling soap? Remember the story of how Robert McNamara was supposed to bringing all his expertise from Ford Motor Company to run the Defense Department? In retrospect, running a U.S. auto company during the 1950s doesn’t seem like much of an achievement—there was a captive market and lots of people wanted to buy cars—but at the time it seemed like a real accomplishment. Hmmm . . . sounds a bit like tech executives today!

    I don’t know if there are important differences between political campaigning and other marketing, but it seems worth thinking about.

  2. Not much room for actual politics in a “Political Campaign” Platform… (Just joking. But I’ll admit that the title made me expect something else)

  3. zbicyclist says:

    Why is this called “NEXT generation”?

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