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Khanna, however, questions the efficacy of big data as a tool for voter engagement by political campaigns, and warns against using a technology “magic bullet.” Data science, he said, is a vocation that requires significant skill and training. Some campaigns do hire experts, but many cannot afford to hire and train armies of digital operatives.

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The likes of Troy Deeney, Danny Welbeck, Ismaila Sarr and Will Hughes were among a raft of players absent here through a combination of injury, lack of match fitness or simply sitting in the departure lounge waiting for a move before the window shuts next month.

O’Leary’s cash bonus was around 92 per cent of the maximum he could have received and took his total remuneration for the year to March to €3.5million – including €2.5million under a long-term incentive plan. 

It’s early days of course and the remaining weeks of the transfer window will bring further upheaval, but Watford proved just about superior to a Middlesbrough team who you sense would be more than content with mid-table anonymity.

Watford were the more vibrant side before half-time before retreating after the break.

Middlesbrough saw chances come and go, with Britt Assombalonga their most dangerous player, but Watford showed a resoluteness often missing last season.

Though Everton may appear a step down for someone who has graced clubs of that stature, Rodriguez has twice been signed under current Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti and spoke to his international team-mate Yerry Mina before committing to Goodison.

It said: ‘Given the current state of upheaval in the industry and the uncertain outlook, it is difficult to justify a payment equal to around 92 per cent of maximum opportunity to the chief executive, regardless of performance.’ 

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Last season’s Golden Boot winner had just extended his 100 per cent scoring record at The Hawthorns to five games and – cheeky as always – he could not resist a dig at the absent Albion supporters who were doubtless berating him in front of their televisions.

Campaigns use this data to raise money, find and persuade new voters, and compel their base to vote. Our phones give them a vast and high-quality amount of data, said CBS News political analyst Leslie Sanchez. 

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‘The club has shown its intent with the three signings they have made in this window (Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure). It helps when you have a great and hugely knowledgeable manager. Let’s hope in the next few years, others want to join us.

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The first is your voter file. In most states, your voter registration details are available through the Secretary of State’s office, including your home address, party registration, and voting history. This information can provide campaign strategists with enough information to target you with broad messages. 

“You had phone banks, you had door-knocking, people going door to door, you had lawn signs, print, radio and all the traditional types of broadcast television and early cable TV ads,” said Westcott. “Now there’s a world of devices and a world of ways to get media, and campaigns just like those on the consumer side are chasing those around and bringing along their data with them.”

All data — not just the personal information used in politics — can be faulty or only partially accurate, Khanna said. “Algorithms are coded by humans, and humans make mistakes … campaigns go to war with the data they have, not the data they would like to have. So often what they have is kind of a rough guesstimate of details about you, your background, your political persuasion, and what you might do in the next election. But it’s by no means perfect.”