Title Projections Before the Polls Close: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? - The New York Times

Publication Date 2016-11-08

Text In the history of the Obama campaign’s storied analytics operation, the effort to model the results live on Election Day, before the votes were tallied, was undoubtedly a low point.

“That was the worst 12 hours of my life,” said David Shor, a senior data scientist at Civis Analytics who was in the “Cave” — the Obama analytics boiler room — on Election Day of 2012. By late morning, some in the Obama team concluded that President Obama was losing Ohio.

This year, Election Day could be the worst 12 hours for all of us.

In a first, rather than wait for election results to be tallied at county courthouses and to be announced by The Associated Press or the TV networks, a company called VoteCastr will project the results in real time. The results will be published on Slate and Vice.

It might make you want to throw up.

A lot can go wrong, as it did for the Obama team.

In 2012, the Obama campaign brought in top talent from Google and Catalist, a Democratic data firm, to estimate the results of the election in real time. The early results did not look good for Mr. Obama. At first, the Obama team had dismissed the data pointing toward a low turnout among young, nonwhite and Democratic-leaning voters.


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