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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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices 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.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.