Megafile Helps Provide Mega-Win

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The President may be the decider but data played a significant role in making decisions during the 2012 campaign.  An effort to "measure every single thing in this campaign" led to a massive collection of information about voters.  The collection was organized in one huge system so as not to repeat the mistakes of the previous campaign.  In 2008, the data was contained in numerous databases using different data models.  This limited the inter-operation among the different data sets, preventing the campaign from fully utilizing their data and created inefficiencies.  By coordinating the various database systems among the national and local levels, a conceptual megafile was created.

Organizing data about voters, fundraisers, and field workers among that in consumer databases allowed interactions on the data that helped raise money and improve voter turnout.  For example, people were ranked on their persuadibility based on their demographics to help prioritize the campaign's efforts.  Each voter could then be approached using the means with which they would likely be most persuaded.  Decisions like having Obama answer questions on were not made because those in the campaign had heard of the site, most hadn't.  They were made because the data turned up the site as a dense source of turnout targets.

$1 Billion in contributions was reached with the help of choosing resources outside the typical voter data.  Cross referencing voter data with social media allowed them to discover which celebrity certain demographics would be willing to donate large amounts of money to see.  The campaign could also monitor which forms of giving were having the most affect and expand and improve those that worked best, as they did with the Quick Donate program.

The megafile also enabled near real-time responses to voter trends as the election was ran 66,000 times a night based on recent polling data and the tweaking of different variables.  This may have proven the most powerful use and where the true benefit of integrating the disparate data sets resides. 

In order to win an election you need the most votes, but in this day and age that may mean you need the most data.