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5/26/2017 DataFirmsReacttoIranianPresidentialShowdown

MAY17,2017

DataFirmsReacttoIranianPresidentialShowdown
BYBRENTM.EASTWOOD

Votersinthe2016Iraniangeneralelections

Thisblogpostispartofaseriesanalyzingthenewestformsofdataforecasting.

TheIranianpresidentialelectionhasleaptintotheheadlinesastwocandidatesfeverishlymaketheirfinalargumentsto
voters.PresidentHassanRouhaniandconservativeclericEbrahimRaisihaveburstintotheleadaftertwootherhopefuls
droppedoutoftheracethisweek.Withopinionpollingscatteredandinconsistent,aclearpictureoftheelectorateisdifficult
tomeasure.TwodatasciencestartupshaveofferedtheirelectionanalysisbeforeFridaysvoting.Thisblogispartofthe
Foresight,Strategy,andRisksInitiativescontinuingseriesondatadrivenelectoralforecasting.Previouspieceslookedat
dataforecastsversuspollingpredictionsintherunuptotheFrenchpresidentialvotinginlateAprilandearlyMay,andthe
recentSouthKoreanpresidentialelection.

Predata,aNewYorkgeopoliticalriskfirm,conductselectionpredictionsusingdigitalmomentumdataitminesfrom
candidateWikipediasearches,Twitteruse,andYouTubecomments.FacebookandTwitterarebannedbytheIranian
government,butmanypeoplestilltweetaftercreatingaliasestocircumventgovernmentcontrols.Candidateshaveused
Instagraminsteadoftelevisiontopostlivecampaignvideos.VotershaveflockedtoTelegram,amessagingappthathasa
Farsilanguageoptionallowinghugegroupstodiscusstheelection.

InaresearchnoteonMay14,PredatarankedreformistPresidentHassanRouhaniandconservativeEbrahimRaisiinfifth
andsixthplacebasedondigitalconversations.RaisiisacronyofSupremeLeaderAyatollahAliKhamenei.
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5/26/2017 DataFirmsReacttoIranianPresidentialShowdown

PredatasaidthatRaisihaddroppedindigitalmomentumandthatRouhanisfinaldebateperformancefocusedonattacking
theconservativesontheircivilrightsrecord.Raisiishavingdifficultygeneratingattentiontohiscandidacy,accordingto
Predata.ButthedatafirmalsoranksRouhanilowindigitalconversationstrength.

WhenPredatabrokedowntheirdigitalmomentummetricbasedonConservativeorReformistidentification,itshowedthat
therightleaningsentimentscoredhigherthantheleftleaningsentiment.ThisPredatachartonMay14illustratesthe
ideologicaldivideinIran.

Thentheracechanged.OnMay15,themayorofTehran,MohammadBagherGhalibaf,droppedoutandendorsedRaisi.On
May16,FirstVicePresidentEshaqJahangiri,haltedhiscampaignandbackedRouhani.AsofMay17,Predatahadno
furtherpublicelectionguidancethatwouldexplainwhetheritsmetricsfavoredRouhaniorRaisi.

GovBrain,operatingoutofWashington,DC,predictsglobaleventsusingartificialintelligence,machinelearning,andnatural
languageprocessing.ItfeaturesaTrendMeterinsidethispatentpendingsystemthatanalyzesdigitaltrendsfromnearly
1,000government,regulatory,andlegislativesourcesalongwithpolitical,financial,andtechnologynewssitesfromaround
theworld.

GovBrainhasRouhanifirmlyincontrol,accordingtoitsTrendMeter.RouhanitrendedstronglyafterthefinaldebateonMay
12.HealsogrewsteadilydespiteGhalibafsexitandendorsementofRaisionMay15.

ConservativeRaisibenefittedfromGhalibafsendorsement.WhileRaisistrendstrengthlookslowinthechartbelow,hehas
latelymadeanotablemoveupwardheadingintoFridaysfirstroundofvoting.Raisididnotdowellinthelastdebate,even
thoughrightleaningvotershaveunitedaroundhim.Butheflatlinedinthedaysbeforetheendorsement,allowingRouhanito
takealargeleadontheTrendMeter.

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5/26/2017 DataFirmsReacttoIranianPresidentialShowdown

Raisistrendstrengthgrew87percentinthetwentyfourhoursafterGhalibafsexit.WhenJahangiriquittoendorseRouhani
onMay16,theIranianpresidentgrewonly52percentduringthattime.Meanwhile,Raisigrewanother23percentagainst9
percentforRouhanithenextday.Thatspellstroubleforthereformistshopesforasecondterm.IfRaisicontinueshistrend
growth,heshouldbeabletocutintoRouhanisleadoverthelastfourtyeighthours.

Rouhaniisthefavoritetowin,butwedontthinkhewilleclipsethe50percentthresholdneededtoavoidarunoff,"GovBrain
said.Raisiispoisedtowinthelatebreakingenthusiasmbattleforundecideds.Ifhehasastrongshowinginthisfirstround,
hecanparlaythatmomentumtothesecondroundonMay26.Withthisextracampaigntime,hewillthenhavethe
opportunitytoovertakeRouhani.LookforRaisitocontinuebangingthedrumonthesluggishIranianeconomywithits11
percentunemploymentthathasleftmanyconservativelowerincomevoterslookingtotheclericforchange.Rouhaniwill
havetorallyyoungerandurbanvoterstosweephimbackintooffice.

Pollinghasbeenlimited.USbasedInternationalPerspectivesforPublicOpinionsaidWednesdaythatRouhaniwasleading
Raisi30percentto13percent.TheIranianStudentsPollingAgencyhadRouhanileading47percentto25percent,butthis
pollwasheldbeforeGhalibafdroppedout.Twoothercandidates,MostafaMirSalimandMostafaHashemitaba,arebarely
registeringinthepolls.

Otherblogsinthisseries:
IMFandWorldBankinNeedofMoreModernForecastingMethods
ThePredictionGame:DataScienceFirmsvs.PollstersonSundaysFrenchPresidentialElection
DataFirmsWeighInOnSouthKoreanPresidentialRaceDuringPollingBlackout

BrentM.Eastwood,PhDistheFounderandCEOofGovBrainIncthatpredictsworldeventsusingmachinelearning,
artificialintelligence,naturallanguageprocessing,anddatascience.Heisaformermilitaryofficerandawardwinning
economicforecaster.Brenthasfoundedandledcompaniesinsectorssuchasbiometricsandimmersivevideo.Heisalsoa

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