Super Crunching the Ontario Election

In the Ontario Provincial Election tonight (in Canada), TV network Global announced the minute the poles closed that the Liberal Party had won a majority government with at least 54 seats in the assembly.

No ballots had been counted, no ridings had reported.

Immediately after this prediction, Global went on to interview high ranking members of the Liberal party to congratulate them on the win and the majority.

How did they do it? Global conducted an exit poll across Ontario with approximately 6500 respondents. They asked respondents to disclose which party they had voted for and some of the factors as to why. The analysts were confident that their poll was accurate 19 times out of 20, with an error margin of 1.2%.

It was strange to say at the least, but it highlights a trend that is going to become more common – using statistical regression models (tracking the history of an event) to help predict the future.

This concept is wonderfully described Ian Ayres’ new novel “Super Crunchers.” It’s scary to think that we can predict the future based on previous trends / polls.

For advertisers, having terabytes of consumer data to crunch provides us the ability to predict future actions – developing highly effective executions. Think it’s far fetched?

Think about all of the information that you currently give to companies. Credit Companies, Teleco’s, Amazon and Facebook – all storing your purchase history, likes and dislikes, goals and dreams. This information can be used for advertisers to effectively target the exact group they want.

If anything, it’s interesting to see Super Crunching hit the political mainstream.

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