Data Project Predicts Sachee and Khansarinia as UC Victors

A Harvard Open Data Project analysis predicts that Undergraduate Council presidential candidate Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18 and running mate Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18 will likely be the winners of the UC presidential election.

The election features four tickets running to be next year’s UC leaders: Scott Ely ’18 with running mate Evan M. Bonsall ’19, Eduardo A. Gonzalez ’18 with running mate Alex Popovski ’19, Sachee with running mate Khansarinia, and Grant S. Solomon ’18 with running mate Alexander T. Moore ’18. Voting concluded Thursday at noon.

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This year's UC candidates.

The Open Data Project initiative—called “SixteenThirtySix”—analyzed each campaign’s social media presence, endorsements from campus clubs and other UC representatives, and a survey the group conducted to predict the results of the election.

Chris Kuang ’20 and Athena Kan ’19 worked on the initiative, with assistance from students including Brian Sapozhnikov ’19 and Pforzheimer House UC representative Neel Mehta ’18. The Harvard Open Data Project is a student team that conducts statistical analyses on campus-related data sets.

Predicting Sachee and Khansarinia’s victory, Kuang wrote in a Medium post that the pair were the most popular among freshmen and most effective with social media.

“We believe that Yaz and Cam’s formidable advantage on social media and with the freshman class is a winning combination,” Kuang wrote.

More than 240 students responded to the Open Data Project’s survey, or about 3.5 percent of students eligible to vote. Of those who responded, 81 students—or about one third of respondents—said they would vote for Sachee and Khansarinia, followed closely by the 75 who said they would vote for Gonzalez and Popovski.

Fifty-nine students said they would vote for Ely and Bonsall, while just six said they would vote for Solomon and Moore. Twenty-three students said they did not plan to vote in the election.

Among freshmen, Sachee and Khansarinia had a clearer lead, with 44 percent of freshmen respondents indicating that they planned to vote for them. Sophomores and seniors, meanwhile, were most likely to vote for Ely and Bonsall, while juniors were most likely to vote for Gonzalez and Popovski.

The analysis concluded that Gonzalez and Popovski led in endorsements from campus clubs and organizations, while Ely and Bonsall led in endorsements from current UC representatives.

Sachee and Khansarinia led on the report’s social media metrics. Their Facebook page has garnered nearly 500 “likes” as of Thursday afternoon. In comparison, the next most popular Facebook page is Gonzalez and Popovski’s, which had 230 as of that time.

This initiative marks the first attempt by the Open Data Project to predict the results of a UC election. Kuang said though the group was confident in their prediction, additional data could have helped to strengthen the group’s confidence.

“Professional pollsters and predictions are often wrong too (in 2016 especially) so there are always trends that...data fail to show,” Kuang wrote in an email to The Crimson.

The results of the election will be announced Thursday evening.

—Staff writer Brian P. Yu can be reached at brian.yu@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianyu28.

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