The Palin Effect

Last week PalinTV posted Matthew Continetti’s op-ed titled “Five Myths About Sarah Palin. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth your time. You may not agree with everything he writes but in general he busts all those myths. Mr Continetti was on Fox & Friends today to discuss his piece:

I have another myth I want to debunk.

Most Americans think Palin is unqualified to be President.

Not True! Yes, we’ve seen the polls, read the reports, and heard the analysis. First, most people don’t go behind the numbers to tell you why the numbers are what they are. I’ve already written about it in The Polarization of Sarah Palin. That too is a good read.

There is another thing going on here: The Palin Effect. The Palin effect is the reverse of the Bradley Effect. For those who are unaware of the Bradley Effect, this is how Wikipedia summarizes it:

The Bradley effect, less commonly called the Wilder effect is a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some US government elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other Instead of ascribing the results to flawed methodology on the part of the pollster, the theory proposes that some voters tend to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for the white opponent. It was named after Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor’s race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections.

Let’s take that paragraph and adapt it to The Palin Effect:

The Palin Effect, is a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some US government elections. Where some voters, for fear of being considered stupid or uneducated, or a belief that answering in the negative makes them look cool, tend to tell pollsters that they have an unfavourable opinion, yet privately they have a favourable opinion, of a candidate. The Palin Effect also applies where voters will tell a pollster that the candidate in question is unqualified or that they are undecided or likely not to vote for them and yet, on Election Day, they do. It was named after 2008 Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the Former Alaska Governor who won the 2012 US presidential election despite being behind in all the polls for two years prior.

In my quest to get a hold of new and older videos for PalinTV, I get in touch with many network producers, journalists and reporters. In most cases when I explain my request, they will go out of their way to try to help me. “I Love Governor Palin” or “She’s an amazing Women” and “I truly admire her” are the most common terms I hear, usually followed by “but don’t tell anyone I could lose my job” or “My friends would never forgive me if they knew that”.

The following story happened to me a couple of weeks ago:

I walked into a camera store, standing behind the counter was a guy reading the paper, he was reading an article about Governor Palin. Unable to resist the temptation I said “Ah, Governor Palin”. The guy looked up at me and said “yeh, she’s stupid”. I kind of expected that, but I do like a challenge so I asked “why is she stupid?” the conversation proceeded as follows:

Clerk: Well, she quit
Me: No she didn’t, she resigned
Clerk: Same thing
Me: No, Quitting a job is when you just give up and don’t want to do it anymore. Resigning is where one would have loved to continue doing their job but circumstances arise where this is no longer possible and for the best interest of the organization the person decides it’s best to leave.
Clerk: But she’s stupid
Me: Why, can you name one thing that makes her stupid?
Clerk: Wait, do you SUPPORT Sarah Palin?
Me: Of course I do, history will judge her as one of the best US Presidents
Clerk: I think so too.
Me: Excuse me?
Clerk: Yeah, I love her, she’s amazing, I really hope she runs.
Me: I’m not sure I follow
Clerk: Look, I wasn’t sure whether you support her or not, I didn’t want to come out of the closet until I was sure.
Me: Why not, what are you afraid of?
Clerk: Unfortunately if you support Governor Palin, you’re labeled as stupid or uneducated or just a racist. It’s a complicated environment when it comes to Governor Palin
Me: I understand what you are saying, the irony is that if all those who actually support her would “come out of the closest” and say so, it won’t be us that are considered stupid.
Clerk: How about you? Are you open about it?
Me: Of course, I wear it on my sleeve. I would walk down Times Square and shout loudly “I support Sarah Palin”. And you know what; I would bet that within minutes I’d have the square filled with 1000’s of people saying the same thing.

I ended up spending an hour chatting with the guy, pointing him in the right direction on how to respond to the Palin critique. We are now good friends and I get 10% discount on my camera equipment.

The next time you see a poll that tells you that the majority of Americans believe Governor Palin is unqualified to be president, just put the paper down and say out loud “The Palin Effect”.

Cross-Posted: PalinTV –  Sheya



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