The Democracy Data Revolution

Simon Jackman

TEDxSydney 2013 · 4 May 2016

Big Data isn't just for big business, it's for the people too. Simon Jackman believes that you can apply scientific principles to politics. In fact, he can prove it. Simon Jackman is Professor of Political Science and (by courtesy) of Statistics at Stanford University, where he works at the intersection of statistics and the social sciences. He currently serves as one of the Principal Investigators of American National Election Studies, the world's longest-running and most authoritative survey-based study of political behaviour and attitudes. Simon is a pioneer of “poll averaging” methods, developing Bayesian models and algorithms for tracking state-level polls and forming Electoral College forecasts. His work in the 2012 U.S. election cycle – which powered the Pollster section of – was widely hailed as part of the “triumph of the quants”, resulting in a perfect set of predictions of the election outcome in each state.

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