Salon, September 9, 2013

During the 2012 presidential elections, the predictions of one shy outsider with a love for baseball statistics outperformed those of hundreds of campaign veterans and beltway insiders. How did he do it? Instead of gut feelings and anecdotes, Nate Silver and his blog FiveThirtyEight used "big data" to correctly predict the outcome of every single state and the District of Columbia. But Silver was not the only person to use data in that election; the Obama campaign also famously employed big data to help them win votes, using it to do everything from tracking the effectiveness of door-to-door canvasing to determining the contents of ads.

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