Palin Acceptance Speech, Sept 3 2008
Although most events in our "political" series are about the presidential candidates, the extraordinary excitement about Sarah Palin, especially when she was introduced at the Republican National Convention, was widespread -- even if not monotonic. Peter Bancel proposed adding Palin's speech formally accepting the party nomination as candidate for Vice President to the list of formal GCP events. The addition was made well after the fact, but as usual, with no knowledge of the data.
We set the formal analysis using the same parameters applied to the Obama address the previous week (and to be applied to McCain's acceptance speech on September 4). These speeches are part of a developing series of replications of political events that, while US-centric, nevertheless interest huge numbers of people around the world.
We do not have the exact time Palin's speech began, but a Google search reveals that it was scheduled for the 9-10 pm "primetime" hour. The speech probably started at about 9:30 central time (in St. Paul, Minnesota). The GCP event was set for a two hour period that would definitely include all of the Palin address, as well as a bit of the prelude and introduction and probably at least half an hour of aftermath.
The result is a positive outcome, with Chisquare 7379.629 on 7200 df, for p = 0.068 and Z = 1.490. The graph shows several oscillations but notably a striking positive trend during the time Palin was on stage.
It is important to keep in mind that we have only a tiny statistical effect, so that it is always hard to distinguish signal from noise. This means that every "success" might be largely driven by chance, and every "null" might include a real signal overwhelmed by noise. In the long run, a real effect can be identified only by patiently accumulating replications of similar analyses.