Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Sarah Palin – a temporary buzz? Sarah Palin’s contribution through polls and web measures

September 13th, 2008 by


The fact that Sarah Palin is capturing an enormous attention world wide is a not at all surprising. She has a good story, and she is an unknown intriguing Republican women brought fast up the ladder. But is this rabbit that McCain magically released from his hat will really help him improve his image? How long can this buzz last?

TrendsSpotting will review Sarah Palin’s contribution through the latest public polls, and use web indicators (web search and blog citations) to measure her effect on the two nominees.

1. In public polls – Sarah Palin does improve McCain’s public image, but Obama seems to recover.

A. According to the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking results for Sept. 9-11 – there appears a slight, but not statistically significant, 3% advantage for McCain over Obama among registered voters, 48% to 45%. Note that McCain, had been 7-8 points behind Obama before the event.

 Sarah Palin – a temporary buzz? Sarah Palins contribution through polls and web measures

B. In a recent PEW poll conducted September 5-8, 35% report that their opinion on McCain has become more favorable in recent days, while 24% say their opinion of the Republican nominee has become less favorable.

In few days time, we will be able to see if the Palin effect still remains. But it does seem that the 5 point advantage Palin brought to McCain has a tendency to decrease with time.

2. Through web measure indicators – Sarah Palin appears as a temporary buzz

A. Search volume for Obama versus McCain:
Using Google Insights, we can observe that since December 2007, Obama compared to McCain, was in the lead of search in the USA. The only thing to change that status is the entrance of Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin has brought McCain to overcome Obama for few  days, currently bringing them much closer by search terms, and back to the stage where Obama leads in interest.

 Sarah Palin – a temporary buzz? Sarah Palins contribution through polls and web measures

Important to notice: The higher search volume we get for a nominee indicates 2 possible options: 1- People are trying to find more about their favorite nominee. 2. People hold more doubts toward the nominee they search about (they are trying to resolve their doubts and ambiguity by searching for more information). Either way – they are more interested in that person!

B. Similarly in blogs talk, Sarah Palin brought to a few days rise in favor of McCain. But while her own buzz is now much smaller, Obama and McCain are currently equally talked about.

 Sarah Palin – a temporary buzz? Sarah Palins contribution through polls and web measures
3. Palin’s perceived qualification to serve as president:
In a recent PEW survey, 52% say that Sarah Palin is qualified to serve as president if it becomes necessary; 39% say she is not qualified and 9% are undecided. Republicans overwhelmingly believe Palin is qualified (84%); by contrast, two-thirds of Democrats (66%) say she is not.

4. Cultural effects: Women as political leaders
According to Pew Research Trends survey,Americans believe women have what it takes to be political leaders. When it comes to honesty, intelligence and other character traits people value highly in leaders, the public rates women superior to men.
But, still cultural perceptions show contradicting directions: only 6% of respondents in this survey say that, overall, women make better political leaders than men. About one-in-five (21%) say men make the better leaders, while the vast majority — 69% — say men and women make equally good leaders.

Taking all these aspects into account, including the fact that Palin’s documentary “Governor Palin: An American Woman” was seen by 2.7 million viewers, (which makes it the most-watched documentary in the Fox network’s history) – we do see Palin’s potential to contribute to McCain’s campaign. But, following Obama’s own recovery – it seems Obama has many things under control.

Related posts on the presidential elections buzz
Obama’s Berlin Speech
Hillary Clinton’s Farewell speech

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6 Responses

  1. Rupesh Says:

    official twitter blog too mentioned this on twitter timeline…

  2. Helge Tennø Says:

    Would it be interesting to also include Joe Biden in these comparisons?

    That he is not even included in any of the graphs here could say something about his contribution to Obama’s campaign? Or not? :o )

    Does the data tell us anything about who chose the best running-mate?

  3. Taly Weiss Says:

    Rupesh: thanks for pointing us to related discussions on twitter. Twitter’s graph is presenting a similar pattern to what we find in blogs and search queries.
    Helge: Yes, you are right. The picture seems to be incomplete without Joe Biden. But, I have found Joe Biden’s contribution to be insignificant. You can view it here.

  4. Source Says:

    It will be a truly scary day for the world if this insane woman and McBush get into the White House.

    her speeches are, at best, ridiculous and don’t say anything about what she can actually do for the country. She wanted Alaska to become a state independent of the US. She attends a church which is openly homophobic… The list is endless an you’ve heard it all before. How can people possibly have anything but a low opinion of this woman?

  5. Brian Jackson Says:

    I like her very much! She’s everything the democratic party wished they had. I for one and voting this ticket.

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