It’s not just because I am a bit of a political news junkie that I’m finding this year’s election season so interesting. Local, state and national elections clearly have huge implications for our economy, military and more, but on top of all that, technology is making more of an immediate impact on politics than ever before.
President Obama brought social media to the forefront in 2008, establishing the importance of Facebook and Twitter in politics, and now it’s an integral part of every political campaign. This time around, with President Obama and Governor Romney both using social networks, apps and online advertising to drive supporters to their web sites, the prospect of slow response times or Web site downtime playing a decisive role in the outcome of the November 6 polls is a very real possibility.
As you will see profiled on our political benchmark aggregating site, the SmartBear AlertSite Web monitoring tool has the amazing capability to track literally any Web site’s response time and availability, aggregating data for everything from holiday shopping spikes to the sports fever leading up to the Superbowl (and the Superbowl ads!) to tracking the winner of the November 6 presidential election. Here we are tracking the response time of more than a dozen political web sites and we are seeing some interesting trends. Pollsters, news media and both candidates will be poring over the [big] data in order to determine their next moves as Election Day gets closer, tracking swing states, electoral maps and the like. And so will we.
So, is it possible to accurately predict the outcome of an election using data from social networks and campaign websites? Absolutely. Can a millisecond delay swing the vote for one candidate or the other? We believe it can. Perhaps what’s more likely is that a technology failure could influence the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some of the interesting observations we uncover using our suite of Web monitoring tools to gather data from the key sites and applications to try to predict who will win the 2012 Presidential Election.
Once polls have closed on November 6, we’ll post who we believe will win, based on our analysis. When the winner is announced we’ll know whether it’s possible to predict success or failure and, most importantly, the key online factors that swung the vote in favor of one candidate or the other.
Think you have a unique way to use web-based data to predict the outcome? Comment below to share your ideas.