Obama Acceptance Speech, Denver

A number of people suggested that the culminating event of the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama's speech formally accepting the party nomination, should be a global event. For example, on Fri, 29 Aug 2008, Anna Zaigraeva wrote:

Hello! I see you guys analyzed some data from June 3rd, when Obama secured the nomination. Are you going to look at the time on August 28th when he was speaking live in Denver? The speech was broadcast to something like 38 million households, according to the Nielsen ratings, so more people have watched him speak than have watched the Olympic Games opening! Much less diffuse than securing the nomination - the window would only be as long as the speech.

We did indeed plan a formal analysis, as part of a developing series of replications of political events that, while US-centric, nevertheless interest huge numbers of people around the world.

I did not note the exact time Obama's speech began, nor could I find authoritative timing via Google, but it was certainly well after the appointed time (8 pm in Denver, Colorado). The GCP event was set for a two hour period that would definitely include all of the Obama 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 trend, with Chisquare 7446.76 on 7200 df, for p = 0.021 and Z = 2.039. The graph shows a fairly consistent trend, beginning at 8 pm, local time in Denver, before the speech began and continuing for about an hour post speech.

Acceptance Speech, Denver

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.

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