A blog about Politics, Texas, and Academia

Will Hillary Get The Colbert Bump?

In Election 2008, Fun Stuff, Humor, news, Politics on April 15, 2008 at 8:00 am

I have a political science professor that gave me this paper to read this past weekend. The paper, which will be presented in the upcoming July issue of PS: Political Science and Politics, explains the pattern of success or lack of, when a congressional or presidential candidate appears on The Colbert Report and in turn, receives a “Colbert Bump” in financial support. He compares the “Hall of Heroes” (those who are brave enough to go on the show) and the “Hall of Cowards” (speaks for itself!). I had to chuckle yesterday as I was reading it, wondering how long and even if Sen. Hillary Clinton was going to make the big step and appear on the show just for the possibility that it might help her campaign. Low and behold, I read last night that she will indeed make her appearance on the Comedy Central political news show this Thursday.

James Fowler, author of the academic paper, “The Colbert Bump in Campaign Donations:
More Truthful than Truthy,” discusses Stephen Colbert’s own presidential run and popularity.

These graphs show that Democrats who appear on The Colbert Report enjoy a significant
increase in the number and total amount of donations they receive in the next 30-40 days, compared to similar candidates who do not appear on the show.

Fowler also states that some politicians are leary of going on the show:

Nancy Pelosi recommended that members of her own party avoid the show—she might have been projecting her expectations about her own performance if she were to appear.

You’ll have to read Fowler’s paper to understand just how this plays in. I suggest you print it out (it’s not as dull as you think), pour a cup of coffee and enjoy what political scientists really get to study. 🙂 I guess I wasn’t too far off when I decided to do Political Blogs as a thesis. In any case, I’ll be watching Thursday night and we’ll just have to see if Clinton gets the bump or not.


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