Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data. As you can imagine, predictive analytics is heavily used in elections. AdWeek brought us this interesting and very relative information in their article, “An Election Lesson: How to Eliminate Emotional Factors From Predictive Analytics.

The best way to predict the future is to study past behavior. The 2008 Obama election campaign was one of the first to take advantage of data-driven methods in the race to an elected office. The Obama campaign had a data analytics team of 100 people. This shows how deeply data analytics impacts the world.

Even with predictive analytics, a tight race makes it very difficult to predict a winner with confidence. The trouble in this election cycle is that most pollsters didn’t even predict that the race would be this tight. Regardless of the actual outcome of the election, one might say that the biggest losers in the 2016 and 2020 election cycles are the pollsters and pundits.

Melody K. Smith

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