Viewpoints

March 13th, 2019 | by

Ethan Roeder: Data Meets the Midterms

• President Obama’s campaign data director, Ethan Roeder, joined me for a “Q Factor” podcast.
• Roeder describes how data technologies are increasingly shaping election campaigns and our political system.
• To learn about the good, bad, and ugly implications of data analytics and politics, listen to Roeder’s podcast

The intersection of data analytics and politics is one important example of how data is changing nearly every aspect of the world around us—the theme of my podcast series, “The Q Factor.” To investigate the exploding nexus of data and politics, I interviewed an expert practitioner in the field–Ethan Roeder, director of Forward Majority and data director for President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Roeder describes a rapidly evolving technology that is increasingly informing how citizens engage politically. For example, through “microtargeting,” political campaigns can harness statistical techniques to increase volunteer and voter turnout, increase the quantity and efficacy of political contributions, target political messages to communities and influence how voters cast their ballots. But these new technologies also bring dark aspects, such as when they’re used for “curated misinformation” to deceive the voting public.

There’s no turning back on the influence of data analytics in our elections and political system. To learn more about this important subject, I invite you to listen to our podcast.

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Gerstein Fisher
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