From pollsters to politicians to pundits, it seems everyone has an idea of how to predict the 2012 GOP nominee these days. Here’s one more to add to the list: T-shirt salespeople.
With Super Tuesday elections today, the men and women over at custom clothing company CafePress predict that Romney will win six of the 10 contests — in other words, all except for Ohio and Oklahoma, which CafePress predicts will go to Rick Santorum, and Georgia, which is New Gingrich’s, and Virginia, which Ron Paul will win.
To determine these front-runners, CafePress took top two polling candidates in each state and compared their swag sales. The one with the most gear sold got the predicted title.
As Mashable reported Monday, CafePress has a section of the site dedicated to the 2012 election, where in addition to shopping for candidate swag, visitors can peruse a series of infographics, documenting T-shirt sales according to their political leanings.
The first graph shows weekly T-shirt sales, color-coded with Obama in blue and the GOP candidates in various shades of red-orange. The president was on top last week, with 53 percent of the sales; Paul came in second, with 35 percent; Romney, third, with 6 percent; and Santorum and Gingrich came in last with 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Compare that with the week ending Nov. 20, 2011, when Ron Paul came in first with 43 percent, followed by Herman Cain at 25 percent. Obama had 9 percent, while Romney and Gingrich tied for fourth place with 8 percent. Rick Perry had 3 percent, followed closely by Bachmann with 2 percent. Santorum, Johnson and Huntsman were also listed on that week’s graph, but they had zero percent of the T-shirt sales.
In addition to comparing the candidates, the site tracks anti- and pro-Obama sentiment. Three months ago, anti-Obama shirts were outselling pro-president swag by almost four to one. Last week, however, results were much closer, with 47 percent of Obama sales going for the president and 53 percent against.
The tool offers a visual for those trying to get a handle on what voters might be thinking. On CafePress’s Facebook page, shoppers can see Newt’s November rise, illustrated with a cartoon lizard. Each candidate has his or her own page on the CafePress site, complete with a caricature, and hundreds of options for political memorabilia (except in the case of fictional candidate Marvin Quasniki who has only 41 options for his “No More Bullshit” campaign).
It’s important to note, however, that this is one way for voters to show support without actually influencing the campaigns. None of the cash for this clothing ever makes it back to the candidates.
And for those Boehnerists, who are waiting to put their body behind a candidate, CafePress also offers a selection of buttons and apparel depicting issues and parties rather than faces.
Though these sales are a fun way to look at the presidential race, they offer no guarantee for the candidate with the most clothes sales. The question, can V-necks translate to votes and buttons to ballots? Or are CafePress’ customers just a bunch of stuffed shirts?