The Palin Effect

As you know, I’ve written here a number of times about The Obama Effect, which has inspired lots of folks to get involved in politics for the first time.

Now I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a Sarah Palin Effect, which is to cause many people to pay WAY more attention to politics. Or at least to blogs.

And on the MSM as well. Note this report from The Pew Center about last week:

For the first time in three months, John McCain generated more coverage than Democratic hopeful Barack Obama last week. But McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, earned even more attention during Republican National Convention week, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Here on the blog, page views surged up to the point that last week I had my heaviest traffic since the S.C. primaries in January. At first, I thought it was about the GOP convention, but that didn’t explain why my traffic didn’t surge during the Democratic confab the week before.

That week had been just slightly above typical. For instance, the week before the DNC went like this:

Sunday, Aug. 17 — 872
Monday — 1,610
Tuesday — 2,024
Wed — 2,091
Thurs — 1,785
Friday — 2,002
Saturday — 1,220
TOTAL: 11,604

Since January, my traffic had been almost monotonously regular — 11,000 and something, week after week. Then, the week of the DNC:

Sunday, Aug. 24 — 1,143
Mon — 1,878
Tues — 1,839
Wed — 2,154
Thurs — 1,840
Fri — 2,068
Sat — 1,336
TOTAL: 12,258

But building off of that Friday’s news about Sarah Palin (I’ve noticed that a topic that interests my readers doesn’t usually generate its biggest numbers that day, but has an effect for several days), here’s what y’all generated the next week:

Sunday, Aug. 31 — 2,159
Mon — 1,497
Tues — 2,516
Wed — 2,733
Thurs — 3,162
Fri — 2,565
Sat — 1,349
TOTAL: 15,981

I really don’t think that reflects a higher interest in the Republicans (minus Sarah Palin) than in the Democrats. Especially since, if you go back and see which posts tend to have the most comments, it’s easier to see why the numbers did what they did:

I’m noticing a pattern, to say the least. Her name drives Web traffic the way Ron Paul’s did a few months back. Which is saying something.

36 thoughts on “The Palin Effect

  1. bud

    Brad if you really want to boost blog traffic you could use this headline:
    Sarah Palin and Ron Paul join forces to keep Confederate flag flying on state house grounds.

  2. Phillip

    Indeed there is a Palin effect.
    However, you mention that the “Obama effect” got “lots of folks involved with politics for the first time.” Part of that includes massive uptick in voter registration efforts.
    The “Palin effect” has mostly been to energize the already-existing-but-previously-unenthusiastic conservative base. McCain needed this boost just to get things back to the roughly equivalent electoral divide that has existed for a decade now in the country.
    Also, keep in mind that Palin is not just energizing the conservative base…but the Democratic base as well, both because a)many people are really turned off by her plus they can’t imagine her being a heartbeat away from Leader of the Free World status, and b)folks realize now that this will be a close election and every vote will count.

  3. Mike Cakora

    She’s drawing big crowds, caused the cash spigot to turn on for McCain and the RNC, and has ignited not only the GOP base, but also independents, male and female.
    bud will surely remind us all that she’s not qualified, has too little experience, never worked as a community organizer, and the like. She will have to prove herself during the campaign.
    I’ve been following Palin’s career for some time and recently realized that she reminds me of my little sister who’s the same age as Palin. She’s got the grit and savvy not just to get along, but to get her way in what we used to call a man’s world. The Sally Quinns of the world, the old gals who got their influence through their way with men or because they married the right guy, are angry just because Palin has made it as far as she has on her own, with five kids and the same husband in tow, paid her own way through college, took on her own party, and prevailed. No government program, no special treatment, just grit, good sense, and integrity hiding behind good looks.
    The lefties made a big mistake in attacking virtually aspect of Palin’s life. Even longtime observers of this contact sport are amazed at the cruelty of some of the attacks. Yet these same attacks have increased public sympathy for her, so until her first big screw-up, she’ll be the one walking on water while Obama hangs onto the lifeboat for a bit.

  4. george32

    1. it is not attacking all aspects of her life to note that while mayor she hired a lobbying firm to get more earmarks for her town (and they did a great job), and favored the bridge, but decries them now.
    2. she has suffered from her association with the far right who roundly criticized Jamie Lynn Spears’ teen pregnancy status becasue it was made possible by a family and country without morals and values and now her own teenage daughter is pregnant and unmarried.
    3. likewise the right went after McCain for his “illegitimate” daughter when he adopted a child from overseas (like Pitt, Madonna, etc.) as a great humanitarian gesture. Of course McCain really was somewhat independent in his voting those days.
    4. she criticizes opponents as elitists though one is the product of a biracial relationship and was raised by a single mother and grandparents and whose wife is the child of a City of Chicago employee while her running mate is the son and grandson of the American military aristocracy and has been “inside the beltway” for 26 years-while married to a much younger woman (not his first wife) who is so wealthy that her husband does not know how many residences they have.
    4. the exposes by the Enquirer including copies of the emails trying to get her former brother in law fired are from the same source are from the same journalistic tracition that attacked John Edwards and were “ignored” by the msm.
    I am impressed by her pro-union connection. Between her husband’s union memberhsip benefit and the health benefits provided by oil rich Alaska, she and her family certainly enjoy better health care benefits than most of us.

  5. red

    What does “American military aristocracy” mean? Is it a way of making military service and having a military father sound dishonorable?

  6. Randy E

    Mike Cak, the attack on what parts of Palin’s past are generating sympathy? Attacking her on Troopergate? How she headed a 527 for Stevens, the crook? Her support of the “bridge to no where” and how she flip-flopped? Her state living off of our federal tax dollars (highest per capita earmarks she helped bring in)? How she laughed when her political nemesis was called a b_tch on the radio?
    Republicans, the supposed party of national security, is energized by a novice who admittedly has “not kept up with the war in Iraq” and whose claim to international experience is “living close to Russia” and she’s a sympathetic figure? The U.S. was duped by the “man behind the curtain” controlling the farce called President Bush. When she’s finally vetted, the truth will set us free.

  7. wtf

    Palin has been a waste for McCain. There is no doubting the buzz about her pick…but its only the base who are excited. The swing voters still haven’t warmed up to McCain and that was supposed to be the whole point of the RNC Convention. Instead of courting swing voters who will determine the election, McCain has to spend his time and money making sure the base shows up. Obama has had the base secured for a long time and has had a huge advantage now taking his game to the swing voters. Everyday McCain/Palin are talking about her and defending her record which means that McCain can’t make his pitch to the swing voters. McCain thinks he on offense, when he’s really playing defense. He’s reacting to yesterdays news.
    Palin suffers from Hillary-ism in that she is totally polarizing. People either love her or hate her…with no middle ground. Yipppee South Carolinians are excited about Palin!!! Did Obama ever stand a chance of winning the electoral votes of SC? Nope. Are the citiziens of the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire going to want a tax and spend pork lover who is against a lot of civil liberties that they hold true? Nope….so McCain loses ground in a state that he can’t afford to lose. Adding Palin to the ticket did not deliver any new electoral college votes for McCain and put a few of his close races in jeopardy.
    Electoral College votes folks is the name of the game.
    Her pick may be exciting today, but 60 days is a long time. 60 Days ago Hillary was still campaigning. Anyone remember anything exciting about that now? Excitment can not be sustained forever and it doesn’t win electoral college votes. McCain needs swing voters and Palin hasn’t showed where she can deliver on those.

  8. george32

    3 generations of senior officer rank, including 2 multi-star admirals qualifies as part of the military dynastic elite, if you don’t like the word aristocracy. it is no more dishonorable than multiple generations of upper-upper middle class achievement in any profession like the bushes is politics. to claim to be an outsider with that background while a first term senator of biracial background raised by a single mom is characterized as part of an elite is patently absurd. ask Brad about the status of general officers/flag ranks in the military his father was a part of. he even mentions a former staffer who has brigadier general EQUIVALENT civilian status with the air force (i hope not in public affairs)in today’s posting. that mention is clearly intended to show that his status is much more than a former newspaper writer/analyst(a darn good one in my opinion).

  9. ftw

    asking questions about an unknown and reporting the documented and irrefutable facts is not a smear. Just because the facts are not pleasant, doesn’t mean that it’s an attack.
    If you don’t like the facts, perhaps you show blame the cause of the facts and not the reporting of the facts.
    Of course, it is widely known that facts have a very liberal bias.

  10. Mike Cakora

    I guess I should have added a link to the rumor list. I find the speculations on who Trig’s mom is particularly offensive because they were vile and fabricated out of nothing, as were even many of the others on the list.
    A couple of items need to be updated. For example, there never was a list of books she wanted banned, she fired the town librarian for other reasons. Nor did she support abstinence-only sex education. Details on both of those here.
    And several commenters on Brad’s blog do have high hopes for “Troopergate.” I would applaud any governor who did all that s/he could to fire a guy who tasered his ten-year-old, drank beer in a patrol car, and illegally shot a moose. I mean, Hokey Smoke, Bullwinkle, is nothing sacred?
    Right now teams of reporters are wandering through Alaska looking for juicy bits. That’s fine, but I don’t think that they were the same guys who did all the research on Obama’s early years in Chicago.
    Hmmm. Who did do any research in Hyde Park?

  11. george32

    so in her capacity as chief magistrate for the state of alaska, the emails sent to the troopers department head called for his immediate arrest and trial for commiting criminal acts-the same as any other citizen would be subject to. unfortunately according the right’s favorite source the Enquirer, emails sent by the first spouse call for termination only; the old double standard for law endorcement I guess. i don’t beileve that governor sanford has encouraged his wife to get involved in the recent issues regarding the sc highway patrol. i guess we should be thankful or maybe that is why he is not the vp nominee.

  12. brian

    Until the Republican convention, me, my wife, and probably a dozen friends were prepared to vote Libertarian or Constitution Party. Palin has made all of us do a 180. Obama and Co. are nothing but fluff and BS; they need to stay out of my life. The Feds have no business in education or any of the other “issues” the Obamaites have on the agenda. I don’t care about “issues” or “change”. I think the war in Iraq is moronic, but so what; since the beginning of time, the ones in power have been sending those without to fight wars–right or wrong. Boohoo, oh well.
    The only thing I want from my government is to “quit helping me” and cut my taxes to 0%.

  13. Mike Cakora

    Sheesh! Okay, my take on Troopergate is moderately informed and I don’t know beans about Alaska administrative law, so let’s find somebody who may be closer to Alaska, Palin, and the Troopergate story. Aha! How about Mike Gravel, former Democratic US Senator from Alaska (1969-1981), and one of the contenders for the Democrat nomination for president in the 2008 round? He’s the guy who put the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971 at great personal risk.
    We find him on the fair and balanced Pacifica Radio as the on-air hosts talk to Gravel about Palin. Listen for a bit.
    Whew, brutal, no? He really got a grilling because of his unqualified support for Palin. He applauds McCain’s selection of Palin whom he extols for courage and integrity above party, calling it a very good choice. He argues that she’s got the experience for VP and is at least as experienced as Obama, calling attacks on her qualifications “the same old political garbage.” He says she’s got more experience than the other three combined.
    Not only does he predict that Troopergate is going to come out in her favor, he says the trooper is a guy who shouldn’t be wearing a job, putting the blame in part on loopholes in personnel procedures, weakness in police leadership, and union practices.
    Note too that one of the hosts introduces the rumor about who Trig’s mom is and brings up Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy. Gravel goes berserk at these despicable attacks.
    Gravel actually does a better job than most of separating the politics from the personal. He disagrees with Palin’s politics and McCains (and Obama’s), but respects the selection and the candidate. The best part of the interview is the hosts’ consternation at an interview gone wrong.

  14. eyg

    Mike, citing blog sites is not true notation of facts. It’s just regurgitation of op-ed pieces.
    Palin’s be in office shorter than McCain’s been running for President and yet during that time she’s managed to get herself investigated by a bi-partisan panel for ethics.
    You can’t change the facts just because they make your candidate look bad.

  15. Mike Cakora

    Eyg: Pacifica is a blog site, I guess, but Gravel is a source of the first or second order, no? Sure, he states his opinion, but it’s informed by his tenure as Speaker of the Alaska House, US Senator for Alaska, etc.
    We certainly do need to await the adjudication to follow the process, but with the facts as Gravel and I know them, there’s no hint of a high crime or misdemeanor.
    To make sure I don’t misunderstand or overlook your point, if there’s an ethics investigation other than what’s referred to as Troopergate, please provide a link.

  16. penultimo mcfarland

    Look, y’all, it’s like this, OK?
    Palin has the force. You know, George Lucas’s force. The Star Wars force. Luke Skywalker’s force. Yoda’s force.
    Castigate her, missogynize her, solipsize her, burger and fries her, it will only aggrandize her.
    She has IT. She’s a flower that won’t wilt. She has the prize pizzazz. She’s the cat’s meow and the cat’s pajama’s, too.
    Leave her alone, or lose votes for every one of her faults you try to point up. McCain maximized his candidacy by picking her to be vice president.
    May God bless him for it.

  17. george32
    this is the link to the gravel biograpy on wikipedai. he did indeed have a shining moment with the pentagon papers followed by a number of less impressive moments like his houseboat escapade with elizabeth ray (whom he admitted knowing biblically 20 years after denying under oath that he had ever met her ) his professional and personal bankruptcies, etc. he has lived in metro dc virginia for a number of years and made a bid for the libertarian nomination this year after withdrawing from the democratic primary process. if his mathematical powess led him to the conclusion that palin has more experience than the other 3 candidates combined, it is not surprising that he faced multiple bankruptcies. mccain alone has been drawing government salaries longer than palin has been alive.

  18. Phillip

    Penultimo: we Obama supporters are accused of getting all dewy-eyed and cult-like over our candidate, but we never claimed he had the Force behind him!
    Unfortunately this is not sci-fi; this is real life, people are hurting. In the end, once the dust settles and Palin’s novelty wears off a bit, those who feel that things are just fine and dandy, and would like to fundamentally continue the Bush economic and foreign affairs approaches with just a little tinkering around the edges should by all means vote for McCain and Palin. And those who feel that the country is on the wrong track should vote for Obama.

  19. tomfliesthebonnieblue

    for those who love to quibble about innuendo, can answer most of your concerns; i find it more reliable than wikipedia.
    for those of you who feel she has had no effect, check the polling, the mccain ticket has been climbing across the board.

  20. bud

    Mike, your source for the librarian story is nothing but opinion based on flimsy logic. The facts are a bit murky but this much is absolutely clear. Palin DID have a conversation with the librarian about banning books. And the librarian adamently stated that she would not. The bullying tactics employed by Palin in that conversation are pretty obvious and clearly inappropriate. Of course the librarian was fired for reasons that are unclear but given the book banning conversation that is one distinct possibility.

  21. Tim C

    I welcome the fact check. In fact, it should be a requirement that each ad be vetted by the fact check. Then the McCain/Palin lies on each and every ad will be corrected. Right now, the Republican response to Palin is positive. But her “state a lie long enough and people will believe it” won’t work this time. The opposition has been completely energized against her as well (and generally it is about the issues and not her sarcastic attacks). Thus, the youth vote will actually occur this election. And she will have to campaign on her own at some point. She will have to do more than “give a speech”, to borrow her line, and survive without a teleprompter. She will have to give interviews on a myriad of issues that she has not even developed her own opinions on yet. Check back in 30 days.

  22. p.m.

    But, Phillip, the Force is not just science fiction. It’s the quality that has made for an 80 percent popularity rating for Palin in Alaska. It’s a novelty that won’t wear off. And it’s so much fun having a conservative savior to hold up against the Democrat messiah with the Muslim name.
    Looks like Palin’s putting an end to the if-you-can’t-beat-’em, join-’em methodology Obama represents.
    God speed McCain.

  23. bud

    Tim, you are correct. Palin is wrong on the issues. She endorse more of the same GOP failed borrow and spend policies that have resulted in the poorest rate of job creation since the great depression. And how do you run up a $22 million deficit in a town 1/2 the size of Cayce?
    Obama and Biden are right on target with their tax proposal. Increase taxes on the rich and cut taxes for everyone else. Why would anyone except the rich be against that?

  24. Lenin Muller

    “She also claimed again that she said “thanks but no thanks” to Alaska’s so-called Bridge to Nowhere, even though her version of the story has been widely debunked.”
    “The governor has cut back on pork-barrel project requests, but in her two years in office, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. And as mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million.”

  25. Tim C

    Yes Bud – If the facts are comprehended by the voters and the election is about all of the issues, it will be a great November. If the repeating of lies and the continual barrage of misinformation is not combated, we are in for four more years of the same. When McCain slams Obama for using the exact same statement (lipstick on a pig) as he made three months ago, we have to point out the absurdity. But it deflects from the issues. When Obama offers a serious education proposal, McCain responds with a lie about sex ed for kindergarteners. We must respond immediately. Yet again, it detracts from the message of real change. This is the campaign being waged by the “honorable” McCain. Palin just repeats what she is told to say.

  26. bud

    The party that has failed the American people for 8 long years is completely bankrupt on policy proposals so they have to go after Obama on silly stuff. Now we have the damnable lie about the kindergarten sex ed and the phony indignation about the pig with lipstick comment. The McSame camp is resorting to the same old crap again. Because: THAT’S ALL THEY HAVE.
    This speaks volumes about who has the best policy ideas for America. Obama will offer tax relief for the middle and working classes. Obama will bring a sane and sensible foreign policy to Washington. Obama will improve the failed GOP health care disaster and help make it possible for more Americans to have quality health care. Obama will restore the jobs lost during the Bush years.
    Clearly the folks who are squealing the loudest, the Republicans, are doing so because they know their policies are unpopular with the American people. Indeed there is no amount of lipstick that will cover up this pig.

  27. Political Bill

    “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  28. Ish Beverly

    After reading all the comments on today’s blog, my conclusion is that the Democrats never seem to know what they are talking about. Most of the comments made by the conservatives, seems to go over the heads of the Democrats.

  29. bud

    Ish, what exactly are you talking about? Liberals fully understand that McSame and the Holly Baracuda are merely pandering to the conservative base and have no idea how to govern other than to repeat, ad nasuem, the same cut taxes and go after the terrorist meme that has given us the slowest job growth rate in 70 years, stagnant wages and an incredible diapproval rate from all corners of the earth. What’s to understand.

  30. Guero

    I want Mr. Warthen to tell us about the virtues of his candidates and reconcile today’s total nonsense, pandering, and disgraceful sleaze with McSame’s supposedly wonderful bipartisan acceptance speech?
    Tell Mr. Warthen. You have to face reality someday.

  31. Randy E

    Cak cited a blog about Gravel on some radio show to bolster his point!?!? This reminds me of the Ferris Bueller scene, “My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows…”
    What’s next Cakora, a reference to Cocky’s position on alternative energy?

  32. Mike Cakora

    That was a good idea, but I can’t find Cocky’s position on alternative energy. So how about The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s position on global cooling?

    The Old Farmer’s Almanac is going further out on a limb than usual this year, not only forecasting a cooler winter, but looking ahead decades to suggest we are in for global cooling, not warming.
    Based on the same time-honored, complex calculations it uses to predict weather, the Almanac hits the newsstands on Tuesday saying a study of solar activity and corresponding records on ocean temperatures and climate point to a cooler, not warmer, climate, for perhaps the next half century.
    “We at the Almanac are among those who believe that sunspot cycles and their effects on oceans correlate with climate changes,” writes meteorologist and climatologist Joseph D’Aleo. “Studying these and other factor suggests that cold, not warm, climate may be our future.”

    Now that sends a chill down my spine.

  33. Lee Muller

    Democrats can’t point to any spending reductions or reform of waste and corruption by Obama or Biden.

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