Trump Data Bodhi

Will Trump’s Data Ignorance Cost Him In Presidential Race?

10 October 2016

On November the 8th we will know who is the next president of the United States. Perhaps the result will also tell us how significant data can be in deciding such high profile events.  Donald Trump vs. Hilary Clinton – Clinton has invested a lot into data and centered her whole campaign around it, whereas Trump has ‘relied’ on his personality for the most part. Although he has tweaked this attitude in the final months of the race, will his early ignorance cost him the highest profile job in the world?

Trump’s attitude towards data has always been a little confusing. Back in April he told the Associated Press that data is “overrated,”. This statement did not please many of the Republican Party, as they had spent a huge amount of money to fund data-driven decisions for anything from deciding where to send a candidate and how to spend advertising dollars to making sure supporters cast a vote. To say that Trump was naïve about the impact Data can have would be an understatement. Earlier this year he appeared to have completely discounted its benefits and instead said he would rely on his ‘personality’ to win. In March, Trump decided to sack the leader of his data team, Matt Braynard, who crucially, had not trained a successor. Instead his campaign opted to promote from within and all previous data momentum was pretty much discarded. In May of this year, Trump continued this narrative, saying: “Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine, and I think the same is true with me”. Trump was perhaps short-sighted, suggesting that his rallies and social media posts would be enough to convince voters, but doing so would in no way maximise his campaigns potential – this was much to the frustration of Buzz Jacobs, who failed in supporting John McCain in 2008. He completely goes against what Trump said: “We lost in large part because Obama’s ability to use data was so much better than ours,” said Jacobs. South Carolina’s Republican chairman. Matt Moore also supported this viewpoint: “Elections to a great degree are won on … that last 1 or 2 percent that shows up or stays home. That group on either edge turns out because of data and digital. That’s a known fact.”

So it is not a party-wide reluctance to utilise Data, but purely an ignorance on Trump’s part and his failure to understand this early enough may make the vital difference when it comes to Election Day.

In stark contrast, the Democrats have been particularly progressive with data usage, and it is likely that the Hillary campaign will greatly benefit from the experience accumulated during the two data-centric Obama runs. Clinton has learnt the lessons of 2008, and packed her staff with tech-savvy advisers. She is said to have hired around a thousand digital experts to help boost her efforts – whilst Trump has been giving data experts the cold shoulder.


But with the heat turning up in the presidential race, Trump appears to have taken somewhat of a U-Turn on his opinion to data. Towards the end of June, Politico reported that Trump was now racing to catch up with Clinton on tech.

Interestingly, Trump decided to turn to Republican Tech specialists, many of whom had previously tried to stop him winning the party’s nomination. Despite the facts of this collaboration being out in the public domain, the Trump campaign has declined to comment, probably not to make it so obvious that Trump got it wrong when he said that ‘data is overrated’.

Is he too late? Chris Wilson, who was director of research, analytics and digital strategy for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign said: “The Trump campaign could say they are doing the best, hugest, most amazing data campaign in the history of mankind, but they’re still not on par with Clinton… Anything they are doing now is like sticking a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.”

Trumps U-Turn highlights the fact that no matter how big of an asset you have, in Trump’s case his personality, in a business sense it could be your main USP, there is always the potential to be and do better – recruiting top data experts can help you achieve or sustain a competitive advantage in the market.


With the right Data team you can win those small margins, Clinton knew that for some time and Trump has also come to that realisation. At Bodhi Resourcing we have a proven track record of helping our clients build Data teams of the highest quality to help improve their business performance. Use Bodhi to get equipped with the right personnel, call us on 0117 315 5265 or visit for more information. Not looking for anything right now, but interested in the industry? Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to keep informed of the latest industry insight.