We all remember the Obama shirts, hats, and trinkets that saturated the market during the 2008 presidential campaign. Almost anywhere we looked, we saw that blue circle with the red lines or the Illinois Senator staring regally into space with words such as “hope” or “change” plastered underneath his bust.
But as the president’s popularity has plummeted, so has demand for Obama paraphernalia. According to a story in today’s Washington Post, Obama merchandise and merchandisers are feeling the effects of the president’s lowest approval ratings yet. And while it doesn't provide any hard merchandise statistics, the story does offer some anecdotal evidence.
“In Union Station, the souvenir shop once dubbed the Obama Store because of its mostly Obama-related selection … has closed,” the story tells us. “A jewelry-repair shop stands in its place near the food court.”
Instead, anti-Obama merchandise is filling the hole left by “hope” and “change” kitsch.
For example, the story explains how Tini Cherkaoui, manager of Discount Souvenirs and Novelties in the District, has drastically changed her inventory.
“It used to be that anything Obama — it was just hot,” she said. “Now, they’re just against Obama.” Her store now contains a wall of more Conservative merchandise such as t-shirts that exclaim, “Don’t Tread on Me,“ ”We Need Jobs. Not This Hopey-Changey Thing,“ and ”Don’t Keep the Change.”
The merchandise reversal could be because the president has failed to deliver on his promises. Just this week, a new government report shows that Obamacare will not reduce health care costs, but will instead increase them. That has especially angered independent voters who many believe are responsible for getting Obama elected:
“Bottom line: Obama is not doing well,” Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center, said of the president’s standing with independents. Forty-two percent of independents disapprove of his job performance, according to Pew’s most recent polling data.
And should Republicans do as well this November as some think, “hope” could plummet even more, along with sales.