As part of our effort to track various metrics of the presidential campaign in 2008, I decided to take a look at the distribution of committed opposition to Republicans in the election season so far. Since the beginning of this year, we’ve been offering bumper stickers, t-shirts and the like declaring opposition to various Republican presidential candidates. For the year of 2007 so far, here’s the percent of sales of that gear opposing each of the Republican candidates:
Most of the people who have felt strongly enough about a GOP candidate to oppose him have bought items against Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney. Fewer people have felt it necessary to show opposition to John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and (as they put it on Gilligan’s Island) the rest. In case you’re curious, nobody at all has bought an item declaring opposition to Ron Paul. Ron Paul has a huge presence not just on the internet, but in recent fundraising and campus organizing too. On the Ohio State campus which I live just south of, students have chalked the sidewalks with messages exhorting passersby to “Google Ron Paul,” and are plastering signs up on thoroughfares with a raised fist, Ron Paul’s name, and the word “Revolution!” Although I don’t agree with large portions of the substantive platform Ron Paul offers, from an activist point of view I really have to admire the Paulistas’ spunk. What does it mean that a Republican candidate who is getting an activist portion of the electorate so fired up isn’t sparking a countervailing opposition movement?