While the political insiders get their shirts all sweaty over which 2008 presidential contenders are raising lots of money from — goodness! — political insiders, we here at Irregular Times are much more interested in who is popular among the general American citizenry. You know, “We The People” and all that “Constitution” stuff. Unlike the mainstream pundits, we think the seriousness of a candidate is a matter for you to decide. Right now, years before the actual election, people are displaying their preferences when they decide to make a public display endorsing a presidential contender. Over at Vote Democrat 2008, we’ve been offering Election 2008 bumper stickers, buttons and t-shirts that promote various possible Democratic contenders — those deemed “serious” (Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Mark Warner, John Kerry, John Edwards) and “frivolous” (Barack Obama, Al Gore, Russ Feingold) by the moneyed elite and their well-trained reporter monkeys.
Weâ€™ve been keeping track of trends in the sale of Election 2008 stickers, buttons and shirts since the debacle of November 2004. With another month past us now, hereâ€™s an update with results for the most recent month of July 2006:
My goodness, but those “mainstream” “serious” contenders aren’t doing so well, are they? Hillary Clinton is back in fourth place — a sharp dropoff from her first-place perch a year back. Other so-called “serious” contenders Evan Bayh, John Edwards and John Kerry didn’t even garner a 1% share in July, indicating a near-complete absence of excitement about their bids for president in 2008. Mark Warner didn’t do much better, eking out a bit more than 1% of all election 2008 stickers, buttons and shirts. Woo-hoo, break out the champagne!
Who is it that people were really excited about running for president this past month? Well, “frivolous,” “non-serious” candidates Barack Obama and Russ Feingold managed reasonably significant shares of sticker, shirt and button sales, indicating a good base of support for their campaigns. Support for Feingold 2008 has been strong for months on this measure and support for Obama 2008 has been strong for the past two years, lending confidence to their placement at second-tier status.
But let’s not beat around the bush any longer: what’s the single biggest story here?
In the wake of his movie and book, both entitled An Inconvenient Truth, a fair bit more than half of all items we shipped off in July related to the 2008 presidential election were items in support of an Al Gore 2008 campaign. 58% is an even bigger share than in June (when Gore held 52.3%), which is a bigger share than Gore held in May, which is a bigger share than Gore held in April, which… well, you get the idea. Al Gore is clearly striking a chord with a lot of people, and that chord apparently resonates with a presidential run.
Whatâ€™s next? Unlike the chattering pundits, we’re happy to say we just don’t know. Although this is Al Gore’s third gigantic month in a row, earlier in the year Hillary Clinton was riding high and Al Gore’s share of bumper stickers, buttons and t-shirts was pretty darned low. Back in the spring of 2005, Barbara Boxer was all the rage (remember her?), and this month a grand total of one (1) bumper sticker supporting a Boxer run was sold. Americans can be fickle at times. But we won’t be fickle; we promise to keep on keeping track of these and other Democratic contendersâ€™ popularity as the 2008 elections creep ever closer. Look for another release of tracking data in a monthâ€™s time.