Profiting from political schwag

A button vendor's take on which candidates are the hottest

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(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Roving political-schwag seller Cameron Koepke expects a floor fight between John McCain and Mike Huckabee at the Republican convention, and he's been predicting a dead heat between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for quite some time.

Lugging his T-shirts and buttons around the primary states, Koepke correctly called the winners of the Iowa caucuses by using his sales and crowd enthusiasm as a gauge (he made no predictions for Super Tuesday). Obama, he says, is the strongest draw - although that hasn't always translated into the highest sales.

Koepke usually pockets about $1 in receipts for each voter at a rally, but Obama packs 'em in so tight that the average drops to 40 or 50 cents.

"With 1,000 people in a ballroom, there's one entrance and exit, and we can cover that with two people. But Obama's putting 10,000 in a building, and you can't see everybody," says Koepke. "But you have more volume, so it works out." To top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.