How Big Data Plays a Big Role in Politics

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Like it or not, politics today would not be what it is without big data and analytics. Our current president won the office through a close relationship with Cambridge Analytica, in which the analytics firm conducted analysis of raw data on the electorate. This analysis informed Trump’s strategy.

According to Trump campaign executive director Michael Glassner, the data came primarily from the Republican National Committee’s trove. Yet Wired reports that Cambridge Analytica does claim to possess “5,000 data points on every American.” These data go towards creating a personality profile of each American for the purposes of “psychographic targeting,” which is a fancy of way of saying that the data inform speeches, ads, and decisions about which sections of the country a candidate should campaign in the hardest.

This does open up a conundrum. In politics, there’s a certain level of trust the electorate grants a candidate. But if everything the candidate says and does in the public eye is based on big data analysis that tells the candidate which words and actions will be popular, you can’t be sure the candidate’s ethical backbone is strong.

On the bright side of big data usage, Rutgers University reveals the role data analysis plays in …

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