Jim Messina, the data expert who ran Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, has been hired by the Conservative party to work on the June general election.

His appointment demonstrates how Theresa May is reassembling David Cameron’s election team, with Sir Lynton Crosby, the Australian strategist, also again given a leading role.

Mr Messina previously worked on Mr Cameron’s victorious 2015 election campaign, as well as the losing EU referendum effort. His return was first reported by Bloomberg.

In the 2015 campaign, Mr Messina made several visits to London in the weeks before the vote.

After the Tories defied public polling by winning a majority, Mr Messina said his own models – which used a mix of online and phone polls – had been vindicated.

“We predicted 312 seats that morning to Lynton [Crosby] and 316 was right in line with that, so it just kind of validated what we’d been seeing,” he said.

“[My] standard deviation is that public polling is wrong and it seemed to be true in this case as well.”

The Conservative party refused to comment. But one aide said: “We’re not denying it.”

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