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3Qs: How politicians are using your data to influence your vote

Microtargeting news feature

The cam­paign for Repub­lican pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ted Cruz is working with a British data com­pany called Cam­bridge Ana­lytica to develop behavior-​​based models of Amer­ican voters. Nick Beauchamp, an assis­tant pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of Polit­ical Sci­ence answers the question: is the so-called "voter microtargeting" the new wave of political campaigning?

The cam­paign for Repub­lican pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ted Cruz is working with a British data com­pany called Cam­bridge Ana­lytica to develop behavior-​​based models of Amer­ican voters.

Cre­ated in 2013, the so-​​called “psy­cho­graphic” firm col­lects up to 5,000 data points on every U.S. voter and uses the results of a survey of up to 50,000 people per month to pre­dict their per­son­ality type.

When a Cruz cam­paign worker knocks on a voter’s door, the cam­paigner knows who the voter is, what issues he cares about, and how to per­suade him into voting for the Texas senator.

Is this so-​​called “voter micro­tar­geting”  the new wave of polit­ical cam­paigning? We asked Nick Beauchamp, an assis­tant pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of Polit­ical Sci­ence and a core fac­ulty member in the NULab for Texts, Maps and Net­works who studies how polit­ical opin­ions form and change as a result of dis­cus­sion, delib­er­a­tion, and argument.

Read the full story at news@Northeastern

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