Inside the beltway, the machines are getting in gear for the 2008 presidential campaign, with attempts to curry favor and cement allegiances in full swing. (Why, those political metaphors are a-mixing like a greased-up jackrabbit with a blender on steroids.) But outside the beltway, people are hardly asleep. The moment the 2004 election was over, people here in flyover country started thinking about who they’d like to be in charge after four very long years. 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 in support of 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 insiders.
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 August 2006:
The rankings for August represent something of a shift. For nearly half a year now, Al Gore shirts, buttons and stickers had been not only been the best sellers, but had been getting more and more and more popular each month. Percentages being what they are, this trend couldn’t go on forever, to be sure, but Gore 2008 items dropped precipitously in their share of all items sold, from 58% to 33%. Is this the beginning of a new downward trend as An Inconvenient Truth recedes into the inconvenient background?
On the other hand, let’s not get carried away here: Al Gore still garnered the biggest share of all 2008 Election shirts, stickers and buttons. And, in another sign of constancy, the Top 4 are as in past months Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Russ Feingold.
And who’s that trotting up the charts? Why, it’s that stranger we knew some years ago, Wesley Clark! Wes, Wes, where’ve you been? Let’s wait until next month to see whether this is a trend or just one of those stochastic fluctuations that Geordi LaForge used to talk about when messing with tachyon fields. We’ll come back with the latest tracking information in a month’s time.