The Thong Primary

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Just for fun, to liven up this hump day:
Forget about polls and primaries, caucuses and voter registration stats. There’s a market barometer out there and it’s proven surprisingly intuitive in predicting shifts in the 2008 campaign: the thong. No, this isn’t a lucky thong or anything a candidate has worn (at least, I don’t think so). In this case it’s part of the merchandise available at Cafepress.com – a website that allows folks to design their own campaign paraphernalia. One amazing stat? There’s about 1,000 different thongs created by buyers using John McCain’s image. And if that isn’t creepy enough, Obama edges out Clinton in the thong primary with nearly 10,000 thong designs, including the website favorite the “Ohhhhh Bama” thong.

While the designs are illustrative (and timely, there were Client 9 t-shirts up before Spitzer resigned), it’s the volume that’s the real leading indicator. Just for fun the company has a chart tracking sales and, sure enough, Huckabee and McCain paraphernalia sales shot up before they took off in the polls and winning contests. Ron Paul started strong but has since lagged. And just ahead of the Iowa caucuses Obama swag skyrocketed and has dominated the field every since. Perhaps the Clinton campaign should consider tracking thong sales in place of Mark Penn’s polls…?

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