For the first time in Colombian history, Clarity Campaign Labs applied modeling and analytics to the nation’s presidential election and is proud to have helped guide candidate Juan Manuel Santos to victory. In the June 2014 runoff election, President Santos won with 50.9% of the vote against opponent Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who garnered 45% of the electorate. This victory will allow Santos to continue critical peace talks with Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) rebels to end a civil war that has been raging for half a century.
The initial round of voting, in which President Santos, with only 25.7% of the vote, took second place behind Zuluago, had a 39% turnout rate, the lowest Colombia has seen in 20 years. With the help of Clarity’s analytics, the Santos campaign was able to increase both support and turnout for the runoff election. Using previous election results, census data, geographic economic statistics, and contemporary polling the Clarity team was able to create comprehensive support models for President Santos at both the municipal and polling location level of geography.
The models on the polling location scale essentially predicted strong support in the areas surrounding each polling location for the five largest cities in Colombia, Bogotá, Medellín, Baranquilla, Santiago de Cali, and Cartagena, proving very important for the campaign’s get out the vote (GOTV) efforts. After the first round of voting, Clarity updated the support models to enhance the accuracy for GOTV targeting for the runoff election. In the runoff, 47.89% of the electorate voted, an increase of almost 9% over the first round, demonstrating how data and analytics can help shape the outcome of a race.
President Santos won by less than a million votes with 50.95% of the runoff election vote. The model proved so accurate that it missed the true results by less than 114,000 votes in a runoff election that more than 14.7 million people cast a ballot.