Despite Critics, Palin's Buzz Is Positive

The former vice presidential candidate has become the queen of Internet buzz.

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Sarah Palin still has a magic touch, despite critics of her campaign tactics and reality TV show. At least when it comes to her "buzz value" on Internet blogs and social media, she's the cats's meow.

"Palin has just been pretty incredible," says Al DiGuido, CEO of Zeta Interactive, the digital marketing firm that mines thousands of Internet blogs and sites for Washington Whispers to determine the online buzz of political figures. Incredible because at the end of 2010, a year when Palin crisscrossed the country campaigning for Tea Party candidates, winning the scorn of many who didn't like her aggressive tactics, her buzz jumped from 10th to 3rd and the tone of it was mostly of it was positive. "This is really the story from mainstream America," said DiGuido, who's data mining doesn't skew politically in any direction. "I was shocked when I saw the ranking." [See photos of Sarah Palin and her family.]

Of course, President Obama topped Zeta's top 10 list of most buzzed about politicians. But his buzz was more negative. New to the top 10 list were Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2012 presidential candidate who made news during the Gulf oil spill; Glenn Beck, the Fox rabble-rouser who replaced Bill O'Reilly on the list; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, just elected; and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also talked about as a 2012 presidential candidate. [See a slide show of the Top 10 Politicians of 2010]

Zeta Interactive's Top 10 Political Figures for 2010

1. President Obama. Obama took home the top overall buzz spot among political figures for the third consecutive year, thanks largely in part to his dominant volume buzz ranking. However, the president suffered a major setback in the tonal category, dropping to 48 percent positive/52 percent negative. He was the only political figure to make the Top 10 list to have less than 50 percent positive buzz. [See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]

2. Bill Clinton. Clinton remains popular on the Internet and supercharged his ratings with his help in Haiti and on the campaign trail. What's more, he's truly loved, with the tone of what's said about him on the Internet 91 percent to 9 percent negative. "Bill Clinton is still a guy who is thought of in a positive way," says DiGuido.

3. Sarah Palin. Of all political figures on the Top 10 list, Sarah Palin experienced the greatest jump from her ranking last year. Palin moved up seven spots overall on the list, going from 10th in 2009 to 3rd in 2010. Additionally, her tonal ranking improved to 81 percent positive in 2010.

4. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Bobby Jindal, who made his debut on this year's Top 10 list at #4 overall, received the highest tonal buzz ranking at 92 percent positive. The only other political figure on the Top 10 list to have received a tonal score of 90 percent or better was Bill Clinton, who came in at 91 percent positive. "He shouldn't drop out of sight because people are paying attention to him," says DiGuido.

5. Radio host Mike Huckabee. After Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee finished with the highest overall ranking among political media figures in 2010, coming in at #5 overall on the list with a 82 percent positive tonal rating.

6. Fox TV host Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck hosted a political rally in Washington and appeared to push Bill O'Reilly off the list for the first time in 3 years. He was 12th in 2010. He garnered a 80 percent positive tonal rating. "There was a groundswell of support for his ideas and platforms," says DiGuido.

7. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich. The likely 2012 presidential candidate dropped two places but still logged an 81 percent positive rating.

8. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the news constantly, especially when pundits and political allies where suggesting she'd swap jobs with Vice President Biden, Clinton's tonal ranking wasn't hot--54 percent positive to 46 percent positive on the Internet.

9. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The new governor was a big focus of blogging so he made the list for the first time and in a good light, with 83 percent of his buzz being positive.

10. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Talked about as a presidential candidate and always in the news with innovative ideas, he made the list for the first time, though his buzz wasn't as positive as some. His tonal rating was 74 percent positive to 26 percent negative.

  • See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.
  • Check out our gallery of political caricatures.
  • See a slide show of the 10 keys to an Obama comeback.