Forget the “Bradley effect.” Democratic strategists are secretly fearing a hidden "Sanjaya effect" may put Barack Obama's election at risk despite his apparent lead in the polls. The “Sanjaya effect” was named after noted 2006 American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar who lasted late in the competition despite an obvious lack of talent. His success was initially attributed to his good looks, his changing hairstyles and his devoted teenage fans. But then word leaked that it was due to a deliberate attempt of a core of Idol fans to confound the judges by voting for the least qualified candidate, aided by a Website named “Vote for the Worst.” "I think it arose because they got a sort of sick thrill each week in waiting to see which song he might butcher," said one Idol watcher. "That, plus their desire to confound the pundits."
Political strategists feels some of this may account for the strong showing in some polls for the Republican ticket, especially VP candidate Sarah Palin. "You have to admit", said one strategist, "a lot of people tune in to watch her because you never know what kind of misstatement or mangled fact might come out of her mouth. Her Katie Couric interview has a lot in common with Sanjaya’s rendering of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’ People will miss that if she loses. Plus she IS kind of hot.” Other campaign watchers echoed similar sentiments. “Look, the economy is going to suck whoever gets elected,” said one. “Why not have something entertaining to divert you from the misery?"