Big Data is increasingly becoming a larger part of how and why businesses make decisions. What’s less discussed, however, is that politicians also use big data to determine when, where and to whom they pitch their political platforms. So it makes sense that there are firms that specialize in exactly that.
Here are a few of the political data analytics firms you should watch out for in 2020 and beyond.
Formed while all the founders were in college at the University of Pennsylvania, Applecart got off to an excellent start by flipping two gubenatorial races while they were still in college. After those victories, they went on to work with the John Kasich campaign. Their overall approach is to influence people’s political opinions by finding the people that influence them; as co-CEO Sacha Samotin explains:
“Politics has always been a social activity… Every part of the process, with the possible exception of pulling the lever in the voting booth, is social. People watch TV debates with their friends, they talk with their colleagues over water coolers and with their families around the dinner table. It’s fundamentally an interpersonal activity.”
Nowadays, Applecart has expanded into commercial and advocacy analytics as well, leveraging their experience in the private sphere.
- Clarity Campaigns
Clarity Campaigns was founded in 2012 by Dan Radloff and Dan Castleman, both of whom also helped found the data analytics firm ISSI in 2007. Touting “decades of campaign strategy, data and analytics experience”, Clarity has worked on electoral campaigns for gubernatorial, senatorial, and congressional races. They provide fully integrated analytic solutions to Democratic campaigns, non-profits, and corporations. While they offer data analytics services, they also offer polling and research services, in addition to maintaining an exploratory R&D program that they call “The Lab”
- Avantgarde Analytics
Avantgarde Analytics was founded by Vyacheslav Polonski and takes an interesting approach to analytics. According to Polonski, as quoted in a Forbes profile: “We’re not suppressing the vote of the opponent, but we’re trying to help people follow through on their intentions. Many emerging startups distort political sentiment and encourage the spread of fake news.” They’re involved in multiple aspects of political campaigning, such as using AI to detect fake news, pro-bono representation of political campaigns, and multi-channel data modelling. Their work has been highlighted in multiple publications, including the Council of Foreign Relations, the World Economic Forum, and Newsweek.
i360 is another analytics firm that provides its services to political campaigns that, in its own words, want to “fill the innovation gap between campaigns and organizations that promote free market candidates and causes and their opponents.” They make some rather impressive claims about their technology, touting a “closed-loop suite of grassroots technology that integrates seamlessly with our action management system”. While they primarily work in the political space, they’ve also expanded into the commercial space, offering solutions for market forecasting, as well as operations and supply chain issues facing corporations.
Catalist is a data services company that works with progressive organizations to communicate with the people they need to mobilize and persuade. They’ve been at it for nearly a decade and are a relatively small company, with around 50 employees. Beyond just processing and analyzing data, they also offer subscriptions to their data and boast data integrations with some prominent organizations and applications, including Tableau and also Civis Analytic’s platform. Their own applications have a distinct naming scheme – they’re all alphabetical, and they offer a multitude of them, ranging from Q ( their database query application), to M ( a membership management tool), to T (transferring data), as well as the outlier to the naming convention, the Atlas Project Toolkit. Their data models include voting behavior, media consumption, engagement, and demographic information, among other. They also offer custom models as well, blending the various models to create one geared toward the client’s needs.