A poll based on coffee cups that has been completely accurate since it began in 2000 suggests Barack Obama will defeat Mitt Romney in this year’s race for president.
The 7-Eleven convenience-store chain is again conducting its survey it calls “unabashedly unofficial and unscientific,” with customers voting by selecting specially marked coffee cups, blue for Obama and red for Romney. Regular non-partisan cups are available for those who don’t want to trumpet their political affiliation.
Continuous results are displayed on a special website the company has posted online, and the ongoing tally for each state can be seen by clicking on that state.
As of Wednesday, Sept. 26, the president holds a commanding 16 percent lead in the popular vote, collecting 58 percent of cups compared to 42 percent for the former Massachusetts governor.
And the news isn’t better for Romney when it comes to an electoral-style map, as he holds a lead in only four states: Idaho, New Hampshire, South Carolina and West Virginia. North Carolina appears to be tied at this point.
7-Eleven's interactive election map shows Barack Obama with a large lead.
The chain says about 7 million customers visit its stores each day.
“Around 1 million of those purchase a cup of 7-Eleven coffee,” said president and CEO Joe DePinto.
“While we have never billed 7-Election as scientific or statistically valid, it is astounding just how accurate this simple count-the-cups poll has been – election after election. We have had a lot of fun with it, and I hope we have encouraged people how important it is to vote in the real election.”
In 2008, 7-Eleven voters picked Obama as the winner by a 52 to 46 percent margin over John McCain. That was extremely close to the actual result which had Obama winning 52.9 to 45.7. Even the professional Gallup polltakers were not as prescient as the coffee drinkers, as Gallup’s final prediction was 55 to 45 in favor of Obama.
In 2004, 7-Eleven voters chose George W. Bush over John Kerry 51 to 49 percent, again hauntingly close to the actual result of 50.7 to 48.3.
In 2000, the coffee-cups prediction accurately chose Bush over Al Gore by one percentage point. Bush won the race in the Electoral College, though Gore won the actual popular vote that year by a razor-thin 48.4 to 47.9 percent margin.
Lisa Arthur of Forbes magazine reports, “It’s interesting to note that since this campaign was first tried during the presidential election in 2000, 7-Eleven ‘coffee-cup voters’ have successfully predicted the winner in each presidential election, which means the 7-Election has a better track record than some well-known statistically valid polls.”
She adds the accuracy factor “is likely driving more people to buy coffee so they can register their preference long before Election Day on November 6.”