SAP at the Newseum: Big Data and Politics

Election strategist David Plouffe and POLITICO’s Ken Vogle on the role of Big Data analytics and technology in politics.

Polling, Big Data analytics and social media has become crucial tools in the hands of election strategists and catapulted those that have mastered them into political superstars. Last week, at a standing-room only event held at the Newseum in Washington, DC, SAP North America President Jen Morgan asked Karl Rove, senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to George W. Bush, and David Plouffe, campaign strategist and senior advisor to Barack Obama, about the role that Big Data and technology now play in elections.

Plouffe, who SAP News caught up with after the event, revealed that during the Obama campaign the campaign used big data analytics to “model everybody in America.”

“Everybody had a score,” he said, “and we made every decision based on those predictive models and how they moved.” Plouffe however, also drew a distinction between primary elections and the general election. “General elections have a different set of voters and the role of analytics and modeling,” he said.

Karl Rove agreed. Rove, who has been a fierce critic of current Republican front-runner Donald Trump said that if Trump doesn’t “change his understanding of the voter he’s talking to” once the primaries are over, he could be in for trouble.

Both men spoke at an event dubbed “SAP Reuters Decision 2016 Simplified” and hosted by Morgan to announce the partnership between SAP and Reuters as well as SAP’s role helping to power the news service’s polling and data journalism projects.

Reuters has deployed the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service as the new backbone for Reuters Polling Explorer, a web-based service that enables reporters and readers to interactively ‘slice and dice’ polling data and create powerful graphics using SAP Lumira.

The in-memory computing power of the SAP HANA platform allows Reuters to access and analyze 100 million survey responses for quicker and more efficient reporting of public opinion. Topics range from politics to entertainment, including a daily poll that will run continuously through the 2016 election cycle, making it one of the most comprehensive and accurate sources of data about the American electorate.

The Newseum event also featured a panel comprising Ken Vogel, Chief Investigative Reporter, POLITICO; Rachel Shorey, Interactive News Software Engineer, New York Times; Bryan Rich, Senior Vice President, Open Source Data Analytics, Novetta Solutions; and Simon Rogers, Data Editor, Google, all of whom discussed the impact of Big Data and technology on journalism.

Watch more videos from the event: 

Former Advisor to President Obama David Plouffe Talks to SAP TV

SAP and Reuters Team Up in the Political Arena