A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It's one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O'Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.
As James Wolcott wrote, "Good thing Palin didn't blow a kiss at the camera or Lowry might have fucking fainted. I'm not a licensed psychotherapist but when you think the people on TV are addressing you personally and directly it's often a sign of incipient dementia."
Keith Olbermann went a different route, in a Worst Person in the World segment that is not meant for tender ears. Watch at your own risk.
Needless to say, I think it should be obvious now why Palin did better among men than women.
And now for something completely random, a train analogy.