A recent report by the New York Times revealed that this year’s presidential candidates have spent more than $13 million on “data mining” efforts to learn more about potential voters. The result: Obama voters are more likely to eat at Red Lobster, while Romney backers might prefer to dine at Olive Garden. While the findings are by no means conclusive (surely there’s some crossover), they are interesting.
Also interesting are the many bizarre ways to predict the winner of the election based on various contests and polls linked to food and beverage. Family Circle magazine’s quadrennial Presidential Cookie Bake Off, which pits recipes from each of the candidates wives against each other to determine America’s favorite, is one of those foretellers. In four of the past five contests, the author of the winning recipe went on to become First Lady (Michelle Obama lost to Cindy McCain in 2008).
The results of this year’s cookie rumble? After more than 9,000 votes cast by families who made and tasted both recipes at home, Michelle Obama’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies beat Ann Romney’s M&M Cookies by a mere 297 votes. Will next week’s election be as close? Hard to say, but we’re going to whip up a batch of both cookies to enjoy while we watch the coverage.
Of course, cookie recipes aren’t the only way to use food and beverage to predict the outcome of Tuesday’s showdown. As reported previously here on the Pavone blog, 7-Eleven’s “7-Election” is back, which allows coffee drinkers to cast a vote by purchasing either a red Romney cup or a blue Obama cup. The poll has been nearly dead-on in the past, predicting the American popular vote within one percentage point in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections. That’s good news for the Obama camp, which currently holds a commanding 59- to 41-percent 7-Election lead over Romney.
What about Halloween? Surely, the biggest day of the year for candy sales can shed some light on who might be our next Commander in Chief. Turns out, Halloween mask sales have correctly predicted each of the last four elections, with the best-selling candidate claiming victory on election day. According to Spirit Halloween, the nation’s largest Halloween retailer, Obama masks outsold Romney masks 60 to 40 percent.
And so, based on the rumblings in the food and beverage world, it’s beginning to look like a second term for President Obama is a near certainty. We’re not sure how you feel about that – and it’s not our place to ask – but one thing’s for sure: All this talk of presidential predictors is making us hungry. Excuse us while we go grab some coffee and a cookie … but not before we raid the leftover Halloween candy stash on our co-worker’s desk.