For two years and four months now, Irregular Times has been tracking one measure of strength of 2008 contenders that the media doesn’t touch. Rather than track public opinion polls of a representative sample of the American public, we’re looking at a possibly more important measure: the number of bumper stickers, campaign buttons, posters and t-shirts that we sell in support for each of those Democrats. People who buy these items are supporting their favorite candidate in a committed and public way when they wear a shirt, sport a button, or slap a sticker on their car. That’s the kind of core support that campaigns can really depend on to weather political storms.
We’ve recently accelerated our reporting schedule for this tracking statistic, adding quick updates every week to the more detailed updates every month. These weekly posts show trends over the previous six weeks, focusing on the five most popular candidates across that time. Here is this week’s update, covering the period from February 4 to March 17, 2007 for the top 5 sharegetters during that period:
That’s the order of these candidates over the past six weeks. But from week to week during that period, how are the candidates trending?
Look at the consistently high performance of Barack Obama; it’s not showing any sign of flagging. The other media-appointed “frontrunner,” on the other hand, isn’t doing so well. Hillary Clinton fell to fourth — fourth! — place this past week, behind Al Gore and Bill Richardson. Apparently, Senator Clinton has done very well at gala fundraisers, but with the non-gala public she’s not even close to Barack Obama when it comes to expressions of commitment. The other interesting development is the rise Bill Richardson (and John Edwards, to a lesser extent) over the weeks. Neither made a grand entrance into the presidential race, but as the season of big announcements passes and the season of a campaign grind begins, support for these two keeps creeping up.
Look for another update next week.