Data analytics become more important in elections

Hes not a wizard, nor is he an all-knowing oracle, but by the power of logic, New York Times blogger Nate Silver was able to predict the outcome of this years election using nothing more than facts and numbers.

Silvers blog,, accurately predicted how all 50 states would vote in this years presidential election.

But Silver wasnt the only user of political data analysis to comprehend the outcome of two extraordinarily long campaigns.

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has essentially been called the savior of Fox News since her comments during Foxs election night coverage.

After Karl Rove defended his belief that Ohio remained unsettled by the Electoral College, even though it had just been awarded to President Barack Obama, Kelly presented him with an important question: Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is this real?

USF English adjunct instructor Haili Vinson, who said she was in tune with politics throught the presidential campaigns, said she was happy that Silvers outcome presented the candidate she voted for as the winner.

Even though I didnt know much about Nate Silver, my friends on Facebook who talked about him are pretty smart and I respected what they said about him, she said. So it made me more hopeful that Obama would win.

With growing technology, more news outlets are aiming to become more number friendly, integrating more sophisticated data analytics with reporting.

I would think I guess I would predict youll see more data-driven analysts or reporters, Silver said in an interview with Chicago Magazine. I think at some places, there are questions about where do these journalists fit in, and what do you call them?

As the media moves into a more logical state of determining politics, so does the way politics are portrayed.

Vinson said political models of arithmetic used to determine election outcomes will only increase with Silvers media attention.

If his predictions got enough media attention, I think they could sway unlikely voters to actually vote, if he predicted the winner they didnt want, she said.

The Obama campaign used data to strategize for the election, according to Time magazine, sparking ideas such as dinner contests based on celebrities appeal to certain demographics.

Even after the election, data is still finding its way into post-election trends. shows Mitt Romneys Facebook likes diminishing in real time.

The fact is, there are new methodologies to predicting how elections will come out that arent considered scientific gobbledygook, as Fox News commentator Stuart Varney so eloquently put it. Neither Fox News, CNN nor MSNBC won in this election. It was Nate Silver and other demographers and statisticians who won the focus of the American voters.