Reeher To Discuss Role of “Big Data” in Election Results


Big Data may have given the winning party the edge in the last presidential election, and it may be the future of campaigning. Find out why at Big Data Day on Monday, Feb. 11. The event, hosted by the “Navigate New Media” group in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. Follow on Twitter at #BigDataDay.

Increasingly, political campaigns are turning to Big Data to understand and analyze the electorate, allowing for more targeted messages that speak directly to individual voters. The 2012 presidential campaign of Barack Obama, in particular, seemed to hinge on the use of Big Data. (For background, see TIME magazine’s “Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers who Helped Obama Win.”)

“This was a breakthrough moment in American politics,” says Larry Elin, an associate professor in the Newhouse School and one of the organizers of the event. “It will certainly affect politics and our democracy moving forward. But its use also raises questions about privacy, ownership of our own information and other concerns.”

Big Data Day will feature a panel discussion moderated by Hub Brown, an associate dean at Newhouse. Panelists include:

  • Ashley Bryant, the State Digital Director of Ohio for the Obama Campaign;
  • Paul Morarescu, assistant professor in the School of Information Studies; and
  • Grant Reeher, professor of political science and director of the Alan K. Campbell Public Affairs Institute in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Elin at 315-443-3415 or

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