With the general elections around the corner, political parties are all ready to exploit the big data and data analytics to woo the voters and tilt the results in their favor. Big data was first used in the US presidential elections in 2012 by the erstwhile president Barack Obama. BJP used in a lesser scale in the earlier 2014 elections.
Mr. Narendra Modi led BJP’s clean sweep in the 2014 general elections is attributed to several reasons and one of the factors was the use of social media and data analytics on a major scale. They drafted messages that had its influence on the people.
Analytics In Politics
The world is waiting keenly for the upcoming elections in India. The question is same everywhere “Who will win the 2019 general elections? The Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi has created an exclusive “Data Analytics Department” earlier in the year with Praveen Chakravarthy as its Chairperson to get data on the voter behavior, the swing, seat sharing etc. Big data analytics will help the political parties understand the voters better and on how they can capitalize it to influence the voters and voting pattern.
The party can get data on how each booth had voted. Imagine the data they can gather if they go deep into analytics right from the first time India voted way back in 1952. The INC is taking keen interest and initiatives to connect all its party workers on a common digital platform.
Important decisions can be taken based on this information- who is the right candidate, what party to form an alliance with, how to persuade the voters, and what must their stand be?
How The Political Parties Can Benefit From Big Data:
1. There are several citizens who do not vote. The political parties aim to get them as well as get the young first-time voters to come out to vote. They can succeed because of the assertive use of the social media and the digital engagement strategies.
2. Democracies have seen increased success due to the aggressive digital engagement strategies by various political parties. The parties use third-party services for data consolidation. Data comes in every form images, audios, videos, numbers, and more. Cleaning, processing, and converting to useful and sensible information is done. The party then uses the information to make decisions.
3. Political parties strive to learn about the voter mood and accordingly ask their campaign managers to create campaigns keeping the voter’s preferences in mind. They follow the methodologies that a business does to learn about the consumer behavior.
4. Big data can give an in-depth understanding the nagging issues faced by the people. It helps identify the problems which helps the political parties design campaigns aimed around it for instance unemployment, women and child safety, education, sanitation etc. Messages are built around it to reach out to the masses.
5. Data analytics also aid political parties to review the population structure of the states, the socio-economic conditions of rural and urban locations, track a constituency’s voting data, how each booth voted across the country, analyze the voting patterns in past elections and do resourceful polling booth management.
6. Media too have in the past adopted data analytics to forecast the winners early. This is often seen in the US presidential elections and the trend may be adopted in India also to predict the election result.
The era of debates and discussions by political pundits and relying on gut instincts is no longer valid. It is replaced by computing technology and big data. Almost all the political leaders are trusting the social media platforms and taking the digital path to lure the voters.
The younger leaders like Rahul Gandhi, K.T. Rama Rao, Akhilesh Yadav understand the power of digital technology. Prime minister Narendra Modi has a huge number of followers in platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They interact through their media managers with their followers creating specific messages that reach out to the targeted audience.
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How Big Data Differs?
Big data helps the political party move away from the traditional approach of wooing voters. In the past, political parties were creating election manifestos sending one message to the entire country covering everyone regardless of age, sex, location. It was a general blanket call without understanding if the message was relevant, useful to the voter and many similar anomalies.
Using big data, political leaders and parties are able to give individualistic approach getting closer to target voters, engaging with them, discussing and talking about things that connect to their needs. Another advantage is, it enables the leaders to send only those messages to the people that interest them and not one common message to all which does not carry any importance to more than half of the audience. The big data analytics with its sophisticated technology and tools is helping the candidate get to know the voter on a personal level and address them directly.
A New Type Of Voters
Big data has also brought out a lot of unidentified “floating voters” those with an indifferent approach. Earlier it was impossible to identify them- people who did not vote. Now, with the machine-based computer learning, the political parties are motivating them to act, take a decision. This new class of voters can have a dominating influence in the end results.
Fighting elections using technology will ensure more active interaction from the youth. There are several million Indians that use the social media platforms who create data that can be useful for data analysis.
Today’s India is developing, modernizing and optimistic. They are adept to the new technologies, aware of the benefits of digitalization and are equipped with the new smartphones and other gadgets. The information they are contributing is being maximized by the political parties. It is helping the parties gain a deep insight into the voter’s needs and behavior which can change the outcome of any election. Predictive analytics is not about taking advantage of the technology. it is much more than that. It is about directing on how to strategize based on the public feelings.