Believe it or not, the jockeying for position among Republican presidential contenders for 2012 has already begun. Mike Huckabee is taking trips to Iowa, Sarah Palin is being pushed to the top of the list in speaking engagements, Bobby Jindal is explaining to the world how not bothering to prevent natural disasters would be helpful to Americans living in places like Louisiana, and CPAC is generating attention with its straw polls.
One way to track the excitement about the GOP presidential contenders is to see how many promotional political items supporting the various contenders are being sold. The thing is, we don’t sell any items — be they stickers, buttons, magnets, t-shirts or posters — supporting the Republican presidential contenders because, well, we don’t support them or their ideals, not even remotely. But there is a back door way for us to check on how wanted such promotional items are: we can check on searches.
You see, if you log in and look in just the right place, promotional marketing leader CafePress indicates how many people came to their website and searched for any term or phrase the day before. When someone comes to CafePress, their searches express a commitment to some sentiment so strong that they’re willing to spend money so they can express their sentiment publicly.
The following is a graph of the frequency of CafePress marketplace searches for the names of various Republican presidential contenders from March 18-24, 2009:
There’s a pretty clear demarcation, with John McCain and Sarah Palin flying high on top and all other possibilities below (Newt Gingrich garners the fewest searches of all). Is this an artifact of the recent election, with bargain hunters and collectors diving in like vultures? The only way to tell for sure is to check back in, which we will certainly do.