Very quickly, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is expanding to a national level, as each of the remaining contenders gazes at an empty wallet and gulps at the prospect of 22 states in which voting will occur simultaneously. Why, it’s almost as if candidates will lose control of the process and Americans will get to decide for themselves. Almost. Sigh.
Trends in Americans’ interest are mirrored in patterns of sales from our collection of Election 2008 bumper stickers, magnets, campaign buttons, t-shirts yard signs. Since the Election Day debacle of 2004, we’ve kept track of committed support for various presidential contenders, indicated by sales of this political merchandise. While polls measure fickle opinions, our measure tracks the stronger commitment marked by the laying down of cash to promote a candidate in public. The more strongly committed are more likely to caucus and to vote. The following is the percent share of sales of our Election 2008 gear in the past week of January 13 to January 19, 2008:
That 11.9% is largely due to a weird little, ok, reasonably big, one day blip in sales for the idea of Ed Rendell as a presidential candidate after the Associated Press speculated that the Pennsylvania Governor might jump in with Michael Bloomberg in a cross-partyish ticket. Otherwise, the patterns look about the same as last week’s.