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February 2017, Vol. 5, No. 1

Tools for predictive analytics took a hit in presidential election

Among enterprise users of tools for predictive analytics, the general consensus is that data beats gut feelings for driving business decision-making almost all the time. But in the political realm, that calculation isn't so straightforward. One big reason Donald Trump gained the upper hand on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election is that Clinton's campaign based key strategic and tactical decisions largely on data analytics, while Trump appealed to voters on a more visceral level -- seemingly without a concerted analytics effort to direct his campaigning, at least initially. "When you adopt an analytical approach, you're looking at things as they are today, but what emotion can do is change that by changing people's behavior," said Pradeep Mutalik, an associate research scientist at the Yale Center for Medical Informatics and an election blogger for Quanta Magazine. Mutalik said Trump created a so-called reality distortion field, a term originally coined to describe how Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was able to shape ...

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