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DALLAS -- Who needs exit polls when 7-Eleven has coffee cups? For the fourth time in as many presidential elections, the convenience store retailer's 7-Election coffee cup poll correctly predicted President Obama would triumph over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The 7-Election results had Obama out-cupping Romney with 59 percent of the 7-Eleven caffeinated electorate selecting blue Obama cups over 41 percent for the red Romney cups. The coffee-cup poll at 7-Eleven stores predicted the overall presidential race winner again, indicating a Democratic victory in 31 out of the 34 states and the District of Columbia where it operates and franchises convenience stores, according to the company.
Between Sept. 6 and Election Day, hot-beverage drinkers "voted" at 7-Eleven stores in the company's fourth 7-Election campaign by choosing a large-size blue Obama cup, red Romney cup or the stores' normal -- and nonpartisan -- green coffee cup.
The retailer's poll mirrored the professional polls as the 7-Election margin between the two candidates narrowed over the last several weeks of the campaign. Obama held a significant lead throughout the nine-week voting period at 7-Eleven stores and led by as much as 30 points in September. By the end of October, however, Romney had narrowed the cup gap, trailing by just under 13 points, according to 7-Eleven.
In addition, as the four debates (three presidential and one between the vice presidential candidates) and Superstorm Sandy appeared to influence national polls and pundits, 7-Election coffee cup sales also spilled over to one side or the other in their wake, the company added.
"Every time we have held the 7-Election poll, we go into it having no idea how American coffee drinkers will vote. That we have had such a successful track record is as much a surprise to us as anyone," said Laura Gordon, 7-Eleven’s vice president of brand innovation. "Our customers are everyday Americans going about their daily lives, stopping in our stores to buy a cup of coffee and show their support of their favorite candidate."
Location may have something to do with it. "The majority of stores operated and franchised by 7-Eleven are in urban and suburban areas, compared to those considered rural, which are reported to favor the Republican candidate," Gordon explained. "While we operate and franchise stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia, 7-Eleven has more stores in blue states than red. Bottom line, we have some fun with 7-Election and, if we reminded people of the importance of voting in the 'real' election, even better."
7-Election cup tallies represented stores in 26 of the 29 2008 "blue" states (including Washington, D.C.), and eight of the 22 2008 "red" states.
Besides its in-store coffee-cup voting, 7-Eleven took the 7-Election campaign to the people via the Mobile Oval, a mini-Presidential Oval Office on wheels. All told, the Mobile Oval traveled 12,000 miles; the 7-Election street teams sampled 40,000 cups of coffee, gave away 25,000 refillable 7-Eleven coffee mugs and took photos of more than 2,000 people looking presidential in the Mobile Oval.