How seriously should we take Stephen Colbert? The fake candidate is using his new super PAC to stir up trouble in the GOP primary race, but the Web likes what it’s seeing. The Daily Beast Election Oracle, which measures whether the online buzz about candidates is positive or negative to create a daily favorability rating, shows the comedian has a significant lead over both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Colbert’s score is 32, while Obama clocks in at 17 and Romney lags behind at -38.
The only candidate who's consistently kept pace Colbert in the Web-buzz race this week? Newt Gingrich, who just came off a crowd-pleasing debate performance on Monday night.
But a critical decision looms for the fake candidate: who should be tapped as his fake running mate.
Today the Daily Beast used the Oracle technology to vet some potential veep options—from Miss Piggy to Ron Paul. Our findings suggest that the fake Colbert ticket would get a boost from a fake female running mate: Tina Fey and Miss Piggy both had higher favorability scores than Colbert himself. One liability: with Miss Piggy’s penchant for speaking French and the soft T in Colbert’s name, the ticket would be open to Francophobic attacks.
Colbert would likely be dragged down if he chose Herman Cain or Batman, who had favorability scores in the negative numbers.
Colbert’s favorability score of 32 ties him with Perry, the Texas governor whose disastrous campaign is perhaps best remembered for his “oops” moment when he failed to recall the names of the three government agencies he wanted to eliminate. However, today’s data on Perry reflect a debate performance that exceeded the low bar he has set, creating a wave of positive sentiment.
Each day the Election Oracle scours 40,000 news sites, blogs, message boards, Twitter feeds, and other social-media sources to track what's being said about candidates (or, in today’s case, fake candidates) to determine whether the tone of the conversation is positive or negative. Based on its findings it assigns each candidate (or fake candidate) a daily favorability rating. See methodology here.