Explaining Palin's decline in popularity by analogy to the statistical scoring methods of the ball game
In politics, as in baseball, hot prospects from the minors can have trouble handling big-league pitching.
Right after Sarah Palin was chosen as the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008, a friend who grew up in Alaska wrote: "Palin would probably be a pretty good president... She is fantastically popular. Her percentage approval ratings have reached the 90s. Even now, with a minor nepotism scandal going on, she's still about 80%.... How does one do that? You might get 60% or 70% who are rabidly enthusiastic in their love and support, but you're also going to get a solid core of opposition who hate you with nearly as much passion. The way you get to 90% is by being boringly competent while remaining inoffensive to people all across the political spectrum."
This was probably the first and last time you'll ever see the words "boringly competent," "inoffensive," and "Sarah Palin" in the same sentence. Palin got a reputation as a competent nonpartisan governor but when she hit the big stage she shifted to hyper-partisanship.
The contrast is interesting to me as a statistician because it suggests a failure of extrapolation.