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For Election 2012 prognosis, look to ... Halloween masks? (+video)

Right on cue, marketers tap into the Election 2012 horse race to try to boost sales of everything from Halloween masks to coffee. They also sometimes tap into voters' preferences with bizarre accuracy.

By Staff writer / October 25, 2012


Nashua, N.H.

Who needs Gallup and Rasmussen polls when you’ve got Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Halloween mask sales to predict the presidential election? Or if that’s too scary, try coffee-cup sales or pet names.

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Staff writer

Stacy reports on education and other national news issues for the Monitor -- keeping an eye on everything from pre-K to college, politics, and social justice issues.

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Yep, every four years marketers have an irresistible chance to tap into the horse race and bring in the bucks. But it seems they also sometimes tap into voters’ preferences with bizarre accuracy.

Halloween is approaching, so let’s start with masks.

According to sales by two big retailers of Halloween costumes, Mr. Obama is on track to win this year, though the race is still tight in a few states.

Spirit Halloween has accurately? predicted the past four presidential elections on the basis of mask sales. Romney and Obama masks sell for $10 to $25. BuyCostumes.com, where you can buy paper masks of the candidates and their running mates for as little as 99 cents, has correctly predicted the past three elections.

Of course, the only ID you need is a credit card, and there’s no monitoring for voter fraud. Buy as many as you’d like, retailers urge, to stack the deck in favor of your candidate.

Or perhaps you don’t care about poll results, and you’d rather buy up masks of your least favorite man for the job so you can vent your frustrations every time you see an attack ad against your guy. (The footnote says about the paper masks on Buy.com, “Eyes can be popped out.”)

As of Thursday, Obama raked in 67 percent of more than 100,000 votes on Spirithalloween.com/Vote, with Mr. Romney taking nearly 33 percent. Write-in candidate Batman had 216 votes. Once it tallies actual sales, the company will release its Presidential Index a few days before the election.

BuyCostumes.com predicted Romney would be the GOP nominee, on the basis of sales of paper masks during the primaries. (Does that mean political junkies like to prepare early for Halloween, or do they have costume balls at the conventions?)

Sales so far at BuyCostumes.com have Obama and Joe Biden ahead by a nose, with 51 percent, compared with Romney and Paul Ryan’s 49 percent. According to this poll, New Hampshire and Montana are the only toss-up states. North Carolina, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Nevada are Obama/Biden country. Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, and Florida go to Romney/Ryan.

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