Political Campaign Data Science

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For our December Meetup, we're very happy to have a panel of four experts in the role of Data Science in Political Campaigns talk about their work. As we have all heard, the 2012 Presidential election was steeped in data like never before, with the Obama campaign in particular using advanced analytical methods to target voters, and with Nate Silver and other polling aggregators providing fascinating insights into the dynamics of the campaign. Sasha Issenberg, author and journalist, will summarize the ways that modern campaigns aggregate and use data in every aspect of voter contact. Ken Strasma, practitioner, will talk about the value of microtargetting, and explain how statistically customized messaging is valuable in both political and nonpolitical marketing. Alex Lundry, practitioner, will dive a little farther into microtargetting, describing how these models are built in practice. And Shrayes Ramesh, academic, will talk about his research into causality and political contributions, and the extent to which money leads or follows policy.

Agenda:

6:30pm -- Networking and Refreshments 7:00pm -- Introduction 7:15pm -- Presentations and discussion 8:30pm -- Post presentation conversations 8:45pm -- Adjourn for Data Drinks @ Tonic (http://www.tonicrestaurant.com/Foggy-Bottom/Photos)
View Larger Map (https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=2036+G+STREET+NW+FOGGY+BOTTOM,+DC+20036&aq=&sll=37.6,-95.665&sspn=53.835776,91.494141&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=2036+G+St+NW,+Washington,+District+of+Columbia,+20052&t=m&z=14&ll=38.89828,-77.046596) Bios:

Sasha Issenberg is the "Victory Lab" columnist for Slate and the Washington correspondent for Monocle, where he covers politics, business, diplomacy, and culture. He covered the 2008 election as a national political reporter in the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe, and his work has also appeared in New York, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Monthly, Inc., The Atlantic, Boston, Philadelphia, and George, where he served as a contributing editor. You should definitely buy his book, The Victory Lab (http://www.thevictorylab.com/).

Ken Strasma is the Founder and President of Strategic Telemetry (http://www.strategictelemetry.com), which provides cutting edge microtargeting, mapping, and data analysis consulting services to corporations, campaigns, and non-profit organizations. He served as the Targeting Director for the 2008 Obama and 2004 Kerry campaigns, and managed campaigns and congressional caucuses in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He is the author of numerous articles and studies regarding targeting, redistricting technology and the Census.

Alex Lundry is Vice President and Director of Research at TargetPoint Consulting (http://www.targetpointconsulting.com), where he works as a political pollster, microtargeter, data-miner and data-visualizer. He is one of the country’s leading experts on electoral targeting, voter analytics and political data-mining, and is a creator, connoisseur and critic of political data visualizations and infographics. He has a Masters of Public Policy from Georgetown University, and teaches Statistics at Georgetown's Government Department.

Shrayes Ramesh (http://econweb.umd.edu/~ramesh/) is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Data Scientist and Senior Technical Instructor at EMC. His research focuses on the economic and political strategies private agents use when interacting with government and policymakers. He has published on the topics of federal spending, campaign contributions, and the game theory of political decision-making.