According to an article in Showbizdata, SNL’s Sarah Palin skits, while enormously helping SNL’s ratings, are hurting hers:
A national study has indicated that the “favorability rating” for Sarah Palin drops when viewers watch Tina Fey impersonating her on Saturday Night Live. Among a group of 314 Democratic, Republican and independent voters, Palin’s favorability rating dropped to 43 percent from 47 percent after they watched Fey’s parody of the vice-presidential candidate. As expected, the rating fell more sharply among Democrats and independents than it did among Republicans, who were virtually unaffected by the SNL skit. The study was conducted by Flemington, NJ-based HCD Research and Allentown, PA-based Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.
Becoming a laughingstock in the mainstream media is political death. I’ve always thought Chevy Chase brought down Gerald Ford, and Bush, of course, exists purely as a pinyata for the last few years. Ultimately, though, these characterizations stick because the public believes their tagging something true about the politician. Moreover, TV satirists more reflect public opinkion than cause it. Politicians aren’t really ripped apart by TV comedians until their numbers were already sinking. As with the evening news, the media exists to reaffirm what we thought, rather than to wander very far outside that box.