This is not good news for Vincent Sheheen — and therefore, not good news for South Carolina.
Of course, you might shoot holes in the date from which I draw my conclusion, but I thought I’d share it with you anyway.
Going into October, I felt like Vincent would have to grab voter attention in a way he had not previously. There would have to be a surge of people actually excited about his candidacy, and disturbed about the prospect of a Nikki Haley win (which would mean they were finally paying attention).
I was looking at my readership stats for the month, and just going by that imperfect thermometer, I don’t think that surge of interest and attention-paying happened. Oh, sure, I had a great month — my second-best month ever.
But it was still far behind the BEST month ever, which was June of this year.
In June, there was this huge surge of interest, and it led to two outcomes that most people would not have expected a month or two earlier. First, Nikki Haley won the GOP primary over several better known, and at least two better qualified, opponents. It took a runoff, but she got it done. Meanwhile, Vincent Sheheen won without a runoff, against the only Democrat holding statewide office. I saw the Haley win coming, but did not expect Vincent to breeze through without a runoff.
On the blog, the June surge of interest registered as 254,545 page views — three times the biggest month I ever had with my old blog when I was with the paper. It also exceeded easily the record on THIS blog, which was the previous June — the month of the governor’s misadventure in Argentina (168,995 page views).
After that, my traffic dropped off over the summer, then started building back up after Labor Day, as I expected it to do:
- July — 137,536
- August — 133,644
- September — 165,155
The strong upward trend continued in October, but stopped at 176,684.
Yeah, this probably reflects a lack of interest beyond the state lines (my blog tends to peak dramatically when it draws a lot of out-of-state interest, such as after the Edwards column, or the month of the presidential primaries, or when some SC politician does something really embarrassing), and therefore might not be significant. But to me, it looks like nothing game-changing happened.
I hope I’m wrong. Fact is, Vincent has steadily gained on Nikki, and could pull off a non-flashy, tortoise-beats-the-hare win. But that’s a little harder to gauge from where I sit.