Election Polls’ Big Data Mistakes With Trump

If Obama’s 2012 presidential victory proved big data’s ability to accurately predict elections, Trump’s 2016 win most likely proved the opposite. Prior to Trump’s triumph, the vast majority of national polls showed him as trailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  Many thought Clinton’s win was inevitable, with most political pundits focused on debating how big her victory would be. And when Election Day came and went, voters proved a lot of experts wrong. So what went wrong with the polling data going into the presidential election?

Before you decide to throw all statistics and business KPIs out the window, it’s important to acknowledge a fundamental tenant of data crunching: The results are only as good as the data that is used.

According to a report by The Washington Post, Clinton’s campaign used an algorithm called Ada that staff input  a “raft of polling numbers, public and private” to help Clinton’s team decide when and where they should dedicate their resources. In retrospect, it apparently overlooked “the power of rural voters in Rust Belt states.” On the other hand, The New York Times reported that Trump’s campaign seemed to have relied on much more simple methods for determining where best to concentrate resources nearing the end of his campaign, citing that “their analysis seemed more atmospheric than scientific.”

The two presidential candidates utilized very different analytical means to tackle the same challenge: where to devote key resources going into the final stretch of their campaigns.

As an entrepreneur, do you have enough of the right data to make predictions that are important to the growth of your business?

Translating a business’s infinite streams of data into decision-making tools that help increase growth and profitability is no easy task. To get it right, analysts need to sift through and consider a company’s operations from the inside, knowing what to look for in detail. Working closely with the data particular to your business, you and/or your advisors can pinpoint the right key performing indicators and accurately interpret information to ensure your company is on track to meet goals.

Talley & Company and its affiliate, Group 11 Advisors, offer a uniquely combined platform of services that give business leaders the ability to both analyze and decipher leading as well as lagging indicators. Talley & Company not only provides timely, accurate historical financial data, (where you’ve been) but also reporting metrics that can anticipate where your business is going. To determine whether your business is taking advantage of all metrics available to make the most informed picks for future success, schedule a time to talk with us today.

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