Friday, October 28, 2011

Jon Hunstman and Stephen Colbert in 2012!

Jon Huntsman, Republican GOP candidate and former US Ambassador to China appeared on The Colbert Report earlier this week.

During the course of the interview, Colbert called Huntsman a moderate. And if you examine his political positions, the truth is that Huntsman looks more like Obama than any of the other GOP candidates. With only 2% of Republican support according to recent polls, there's little chance that Huntsman will remain a presidential candidate for much longer. That said, a Huntsman candidacy really would make for an interesting and competitive general election cycle.

Towards the end of the interview, Colbert asks Huntsman if he is ready for "The Colbert Bump." A real phenomenon, research has actually shown that appearing on Colbert's show can help congressional candidates with fundraising efforts. Of course, there's no real evidence that "The Colbert Bump," helps increase poll ratings. And it's doubtful that an appearance on The Colbert Report will do much for Huntsman, especially among Republican primary voters.

That said, Huntsman's appearance underscores yet again the strategic value of candidate appearances on political comedy programming. I discuss the phenomenon in a forthcoming research article in the journal Mass Communication & Society.

As we get closer to the Iowa caucuses, look for candidates from Huntsman to Romney to Perry to Cain to try and take advantage of appearances on non-traditional infotainment programming. The Colbert Report and other programs offer an excellent way to connect with a different group of voters who tend to be less politically attentive on average.

It's your turn to be the judge -- what do you think of Huntsman's appearance? Bonus or bust?

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