Quantitative Political Data & What You Need to Know

Woman studying a paper with quantitative political data


The battle for the best political data is intense—particularly accurate and up-to-date quantitative data. Campaign managers need numbers that they can use to inform and improve decision-making.

At Aristotle, we provide political data to federal election campaigns, state election campaigns, political action committees (PACs), and grassroots advocacy organizations. The right quantitative data can make a dramatic difference. In this article, you will find a guide to the key things to know about quantitative data in politics.

An Overview of Quantitative Political Data

You can divide political data into two very broad categories: Quantitative data and Qualitative data. Whereas qualitative data is descriptive, non-numerical data that is often presented in a narrative form, quantitative data is about numbers. Quantitative data in politics is information that can be expressed as a numerical value. There is a wide variety of quantitative political data available that you can use to better understand the electorate, opinions value, and the steps that you need to take to achieve your goals. Along with other things, quantitative data in politics includes:

  • Demographic Data (Census Data): Demographic data, particularly U.S. Census data, often forms the basis of quantitative data. With core numerical information—population, population growth, race, age distribution, etc—campaigns and advocacy groups can better understand the political landscape that they are working with. Outdated demographic data can cause major problems.
  • Survey Data: Polling/survey data is another key form of quantitative political data. This data comes from a wide array of different sources. You may get quantitative survey data from a non-profit organization such as American National Election Studies (ANES), private polling firms that release results to the public (Gallup, Pew Research Center, etc), or a news organization that does data analysis, such as FiveThirtyEight. Large campaigns, PACs, or advocacy groups may also opt to do private polling.
  • Exit Polls: Exit polls data is quantitative political data that is often used to help parties understand what happened in an election. Of course, exit polls carry a margin of error. Campaigns and advocacy groups must know how to effectively use exit poll data.
  • Election Results: Election results are one of the most reliable, concrete forms of quantitative political data. While polling is timely, it is also often prospective and subject to error. Further, things like question-wording can make a big difference. Election results can tell you in numerical form what happened in a given year. The right quantitative political data analysis can help to make election results more actionable. For example, things like long-term trends and over/under performance in a particular precinct may be highly instructive. You can access historic federal, state, and local election results from a wide range of different sources, including org.
  • Donation Data: It is no secret that campaigns, PACs, and grassroots groups need funding. Accessing donors and raising money is huge in politics. Donation data is one of the most important forms of political data. You can see who donated, when they donated, where they donated, and how much they gave in an election cycle. There are free sources of donation data available from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and state election authorities. Though, those data sources may not be comprehensive and can be difficult to navigate. Aristotle has a political donor database with more than 163 million donations. We help campaigns and advocacy groups analyze and apply political donation data.
  • Consumer Data: Consumer data is political data. The consumer decisions made by people are often quite reflective of their political views, overall outlook, and their economic position. Knowing how to obtain, organize, analyze, and apply consumer data is a big part of putting together a successful quantitative data strategy in politics.
  • Digital Audience Data: A lot of politics now occurs within the digital realm. Digital audience data You can see who is following your campaign or organization, what types of content are getting positive reactions, and how effectively your message is getting across to potential voters or donors. Aristotle provides in-depth, actionable digital audience data to clients.

There is strong evidence that data-driven campaigning makes a difference. Electoral campaigns and advocacy operations that lack a strong foundation of quantitative data are at risk of falling way behind the competition. That being said, data-driven campaigning is not “one thing.” It can come in many different forms, varying based on each party’s resources, objectives, and base assumptions. All parties that want to make a real difference in our modern political climate must have access to both reliable quantitative data and the right tools for data analysis.

Data Helps Campaigns, PACs, and Advocacy Groups Achieve their Goals

The right political data can help campaigns and organizations improve their efficiency, hone their message, and more successfully achieve their goals. A well-constructed quantitative data strategy combines elements of statistics and mathematics to collect, assess, interpret, and apply numerical data in a way that best allows an electoral campaign or advocacy group to achieve its goal.

Quantitative data matters. You need accurate, up-to-date political data. At the same time, the numbers do not necessarily speak for themselves. The right knowledge, expertise, and experience are needed to be able to effectively understand and use quantitative data in politics. Aristotle puts campaigns, PACs, and advocacy groups in the best position to succeed.

Aristotle Is an Award-Winning Leader in Quantitative Political Data

At Aristotle, we have proudly provided the foundation for our clients’ data operations for nearly four decades. Our team puts a strong emphasis on top-quality, accurate data. With Aristotle, you and your organization can instantly download and access our National Voter File, our National Consumer File, our National Donor File, and our regularly-refreshed New Mover File. If you have any questions about quantitative data in politics, we are here to help. Contact us today to find out more about our political data services.

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