Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) is joining forces with Artificial Intelligence (AI) pioneer Advanced Symbolics Inc. (ASI) to conduct in-depth analysis in 28 key federal ridings in a series called Ridings to Watch

The political strategists and researchers at H+K and ASI identified these 28 strategically important ridings, based on three criteria:

  • Tightness: In some ridings, we have multiple possible outcomes, with three and even four-way races.
  • Bellwethers: These ridings are interesting because of their long history of electing MPs from the winning party.
  • Stars: Other ridings have star candidates who are running as independents, or star candidates running for the upstart PPC.

“This election could be extremely tight with many races decided by less than 1,000 votes. This means that more than ever, campaigns at every level will matter,” said Elliott Gauthier, Senior Vice President of Data + Analytics at H+K. “That’s why we have teamed up with ASI to develop an original methodology; one that complements the traditional ‘horse-race’ numbers that pollsters put out with ‘ground game’ insights based on behavioural analysis.”

“Our analysis will surface the conversations that people are having about the issues,” adds Erin Kelly, President of ASI. “And we frame our analysis in real world by adding Census and Elections Canada data at the riding level to our predictive model. Then, once we generate the data, we work with the H+K team to tease-out the implications for each party in the riding. It’s a true partnership between traditional data science, human insight and artificial intelligence.”

Over the course of the election the teams at H+K and ASI will be releasing data on our interactive dashboard, hosted on H+K and ASI’s dedicated election site. This dashboard will show each riding’s projected results, top election issues, past voting behaviours and demographic trends. To complement the data, Erin Kelly of ASI and Elliott Gauthier of H+K will be sharing detailed analysis and insightful commentary.

What is truly unique about this political analysis is that the methodology leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The team at ASI created “Polly,” an AI that predicts voter intentions based on publicly available social media data. Social media data is gathered from ASI’s online representative sample of over 270,000 Canadians selected using ASI’s patented CIC algorithm. It includes discussion of local candidates, political issues, political parties and leaders. These discussions are broken down geographically and over time. An AI-driven predictive model using this data, as well as census data, is trained and learns about historical polling and electoral results. Every time “Polly” analyses an election “She” learns from “Her” predictions and the resulting outcome and then refines the analysis for the next time. In short, “She” is always improving. The result is a completely new way of looking at the political landscape in Canada, one that complements traditional polling.

“Harnessing a new mode of data collection and analysis of the political landscape exemplifies our early adoption philosophy here at H+K where continuous innovation is key to our continued success. The AI-based tool that ASI has created is on the leading edge of next generation insight-gathering. We expect that ‘Polly’ will build on her track record of accurately predicting electoral outcomes through observations and measures of behaviour. In a context of increasing polling fatigue and skepticism, the application of AI is a very exciting development,” said Elliott Gauthier, H+K. 

About Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K)

With seven offices across the country, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada is a leader in both public relations and public affairs. H+K delivers deep sector expertise in government relations, with in-house experts from all levels of government and across all parties. Coupled with our robust data + analytics team and creative team, H+K is the source for insights and analysis on the 2019 federal election. In addition, H+K specializes in corporate communications, marketing communications, public participation, crisis, energy, technology, health care, content marketing, social and digital communications, financial communications and transactions. Its parent company, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Inc., has offices in more than 40 countries as well as an extensive associate network; and it is a member of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world’s largest communications services groups.

About Advanced Symbolics Inc. (ASI)

ASI is proudly setting new standards in market and behavioural research. Founded in 2015, ASI is Canada’s only AI-driven polling company. ASI was the official pollster for TV Ontario during the 2018 Ontario provincial election, and has a long track record of accurately predicting elections and referendums, including the 2016 BREXITvote, 2015 Canadian Federal Election, 2016 American Presidential Election, and 2018 Ontario Provincial Election.

About Elliott Gauthier, CD

Elliott has designed and overseen non-partisan polling for major media outlets, digital media and clients in every federal, select provincial elections, for close to 20 years. An expert in innovative mix-mode and cross-disciplined research methods, Elliott provides data-backed insight on the nature of party support, key issues, topics and the opportunities that exist for the parties and their leaders.

As Senior Vice President and national leader of the Data + Analytics practice at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Elliott delivers deep insight into audiences by combining social intelligence analysis and quantitative and qualitative market research methodologies. Immediately prior to joining H+K, Elliott was co-founder and Chief Operations Officer (COO) of an innovative and successful research consultancy based in Ottawa.

Elliott is a sought after speaker on the political landscape in Canada, Cannabis, Agri-food and labour market challenges, to name a few. He is also a professor of research, in the Public Relations Program at Algonquin College, a recently retired member of the Primary Army Reserves and a 2016 recipient of the Forty Under 40 award for business leaders.

About Erin Kelly

Erin has over 20 years of experience as a marketing executive, most recently as Chief Operating Officer of a large advertising firm. Today, she is a pioneer in the new world of marketing research using Artificial Intelligence (AI). A veteran practitioner of traditional market research techniques such as focus groups, telephone surveys, quantitative and qualitative research, Erin is a strong advocate of using AI for much more accurate and cost-effective market research.

Fluently bilingual, Erin is a regular contributor to TVO, CBC news, The Globe and Mail, iPolitics, The Hill Times, Policy Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, educating marketers on the latest technologies and how they can benefit from them. Erin is a published author of two books on technology and marketing, a past recipient of the Forty Under 40 award for business leaders, and a sought-after speaker on AI and marketing technology.