However the election turns out this fall, I think it's safe to say that Barack Obama is a much stronger brand than John McCain.
Political T-shirts -- particularly those supporting presumed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama -- are emerging in a big way this season, transformed from the uniform of campaign workers to a definitive statement of youthful, progressive cool.
Paired with jeans or dressed up with a seersucker jacket and khakis for a night on the town, the shirts are turning up on city streets and retail shelves like never before.
Fashion insiders attribute the trend to an emerging young, casual voter -- one ready to mix politics with sneakers -- as well as professionals who've embraced the campaign and are slipping into Obamawear to make a statement as much about their political leanings as their hipness.
Obama, says one provocative shirt, is the new black.
"There's no question at all, the Obama campaign has crossed over to popular culture," says Brian Kirwin, a Virginia Beach, Va. political consultant who also advises would-be lawmakers on their image.
T-shirts for Republican rival John McCain, including those saying "Nobama," have cropped up among Web retailers such as Zazzle.com and CafePress but don't seem to have caught on in the same way. That may reflect Obama's greater appeal among younger, T-shirt-wearing voters.
Kirwin says years past saw such shirts more or less limited to the most politically plugged in. "I've seen candidates give away T-shirts for their campaign," Kirwin says, "I've never seen (consumers) from the bottom up latch on."
In the Anecdotal Evidence department, I've seen vastly more Obama bumper stickers than I have McCain ones. Yeah, I know, I live in the liberal inner core, but four years ago it was the reverse - far more Bush stickers than Kerry ones. Heck, I think I see more leftover "W" and "Bush/Cheney 04" stickers still on vehicles today than I do McCain stickers. Maybe it's different in the outer reaches of the county, I don't know. But it's clear who's winning the car wars around here. What are you seeing sticker-wise? Is it as imbalanced as I see it where you drive? Let me know.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 11, 2008 to The making of the President