The winner of this year's presidential election: Big data

The reason Obama won wasn't the economy, foreign policy, or women's issues -- it's the data, stupid

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The other example of why big data is the future of politics: FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver, who's become the poster boy for stat geeks everywhere. Silver's confident predictions that Obama had an 80 percent or better chance of winning drove the other side nuts, because they couldn't see what he could see. All they saw was a race that appeared to be neck and neck.

Silver applied deep statistical analysis across dozens of data points and a lot of computer modeling to come up with his projections, which turned out to be virtually perfect. The man did not leave a pin standing.

The GOP's answer? Unskewed Polls, run by wannabe stat wonk Dean Chambers, who decided to solve Romney's polling problems by ignoring basic numeric differences in party affiliation, thus leading to his "final definitive projection" of the race: Romney wins 51 percent and 275 electoral votes.

For his sake, I hope Chambers never decides to go to Vegas and put all of his life savings on 22 red. (You know what they say about house odds -- they're totally skewed.)

The other area where the Obama campaign polished the floor with the Romneyans, in my humble opinion, was in understanding Internet culture. It's why Obama sat for an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit last August and why the Obama campaign jumped in feet first with really silly memes about Big Bird and Romnesia following the debates.

It understood the kind of things that work online, even if they don't always cross over to traditional media. I suspect that's a difference in the age of the Obama data wonks as much as anything -- those darned kids and their Webbernets.

Bottom line: When big data meets little data, big data wins every time. Big data plus big money? Unbeatable. That's a lesson you can bet the Republicans will take home after this election. And it will be how these campaigns are run from now on.

Lay it on me, Cringesters: What's your big takeaway from Endless Campaign 2012? Post your thoughts below or email me: And please, be civil.

This article, "The winner of this year's presidential election: Big data," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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