US consumers rate Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama as more appealing, trustworthy, and influential than party rival Hillary Clinton and Republican frontrunner John McCain.
According to data released by the Davie Brown Celebrity Index (DBI), an independent index typically used by brand marketers to determine a celebrity's ability to influence consumer purchase intent, Obama's score in "trust" is 12 points higher than McCain and Clinton.
Obama, who is seeking to make history by becoming the country's first African-American president, also scored 15 points more than Clinton and McCain in the DBI's "appeal" attribute.
"In terms of appeal and trust, in the minds of US consumers, comparing Obama to Clinton is like comparing Tom Hanks to Martha Stewart," said Jeff Chown, president of Davie Brown Talent, which works with major brands to identify and sign celebrities for endorsement deals.
Tom Hanks is one of Hollywood's most popular actors while Martha Stewart is a business magnate who was convicted of lying to investigators in 2004 about a stock sale and served five months in prison. "There's a big drop-off between how they're perceived when it comes to likeability and trustworthiness," Chown said.
Of the DBI's eight key attributes, Clinton tops Obama in just one: Awareness. But just barely. According to the DBI, Clinton is known by more than 99 per cent of US consumers, while around 98 per cent of consumers know Obama.
"That one's essentially a draw," said Chown.
But Obama outscores Clinton as well as McCain in the DBI's influence, endorsement, aspiration, trendsetter, and breakthrough categories.
Of the more than 1,600 celebrities in the DBI database, Obama currently ranks third overall. Clinton is eighth overall, while Republicans McCain and Mike Huckabee come in at 20 and 74, respectively. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey, a strong Obama supporter, currently ranks first in the DBI.