As Stephen Colbert often points out, political figures have a tremendous incentive to appear on his self-titled Comedy Central show. This is due to the "Colbert Bump" -- the legendary tendency for fortune to smile on those willing to be lampooned, in the form of sudden upticks in polling and overall popularity.
How far will an appearance on The Colbert Report go in terms of money? Well, via Wonkette, we learn of a press release sent out today from the American Political Science Association that says the monetary gains can be significant! But there's a catch:
Democratic politicians receive a 40% increase in contributions in the 30 days after appearing on the comedy cable show The Colbert Report. In contrast, their Republican counterparts essentially gain nothing. These findings appear to validate anecdotal evidence regarding the political impact of the program, such as the assertions by host Stephen Colbert that appearing on his program provides candidates with a "Colbert bump" or a rise in support for their election campaigns.
APSA cites a July study conducted by political scientist James Fowler, whose research on the matter was published in the July 2008 issue of PS: Political Science and Politics. [You can read it here.]
His analysis finds that Democrats who appear on The Colbert Report enjoy a significant increase in the number and total amount of donations they receive over the next 30-40 days when compared to similar candidates who do not appear on the show. Specifically, Democrats who come on the program raise $8,247 more than colleagues who don't do so on the 32nd day following their appearance--"a bump of roughly two-fifths over the normal rate of receipts." Republicans do not appear to benefit at all from appearing on the program; notably, they raise more funds in the month before coming on the program while actually raising less money in the month following their appearance--hinting at a possible "Colbert bust" for the GOP instead.
There's little doubt that this news will lead to Colbert awarding himself a "Tip Of The Hat," to be immediately followed by a "Wag Of The Finger."