By Gregory Wawro, Professor of Political Science; Program Director, M.S. in Political Analytics
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been through the ringer lately — falling poll numbers, stories about donors abandoning him, infighting among supporters, and natural disasters in his home state.
According to a recent Politico article, the super PAC backing DeSantis—Never Back Down—has invested heavily in analytics in its quest to narrow the gap between DeSantis and the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, former President Donald Trump. As part of a recent, eye-popping $17 million communications spend, strategists and data scientists at Never Back Down designed a massive analytics experiment employing different outreach methods, from paid advertising to text messaging. Their deep commitment to data, they say, is a central part of their strategy. They’ve built an experienced team with strong quantitative skills and political acumen to prove it.
The super PAC is using the results of the experiment and what they have learned about potential voters to inform their plans to spend an additional $25 million in the fall in Iowa and New Hampshire. There’s still time before voters start casting ballots, but can this enormous investment in analytics give DeSantis back some momentum before it’s too late?
About the Program
The M.S. in Political Analytics program is designed to fill an important role in the rapidly developing field of data analytics as it is applied to politics and advocacy, allowing students who are interested in new approaches to data analytics—such as machine learning—to integrate those interests with a politics or advocacy focus. Furthermore, it will provide a clearer professional trajectory by helping students acquire necessary skills and suitable employment after graduation.