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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.

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Let's give a shout-out here to John Toole at the Eagle-Tribune in New Hampshire for some good old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting. According to his visits to local costume retailers, the mask race is still too close to call.

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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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If you’re a coffee-drinker, you may have noticed an unscientific poll being conducted at a 7-Eleven store near you. Early voting started Sept. 6 with the availability of Red Romney coffee cups and Blue Obama cups. Voting ends Nov. 6. “7-Election” cup sales have predicted the past three presidential elections.

If the cup trends continue, Obama will get another four years to percolate. His cups have raked in 59 percent of sales to Romney’s 41 percent. There’s no room to be undecided if you want your java.

If you’ve always wondered what it’s like to sip coffee while sitting in the Oval Office contemplating how to be the leader of the free world, or how to be reelected, there’s one other perk in the 7-Eleven campaign. The Mobile Oval bus tour with its Oval Office replication will be making stops in such cities as Reno, Nev., Los Angeles, and Dallas between now and Election Day.

Finally, this one’s for you if you think the election is for the dogs: A new company is trying to get in on the action, but it's taking a more historical approach to presidential popularity. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. of Brea, Calif., put out a press release this week noting the Top 10 most common presidential names among its database of more than 485,000 insured pets.

Jackson (as in Andrew) is No. 1, with 942 pets named after him. Carter (as in Jimmy) is No. 10 with just 82.

But can’t they give us the pets’ prediction for Election 2012?

VPI doesn’t claim any predictive track record. But it notes that the database includes five pets named “Obama,” 10 named “Barack,” and zero named “Romney” or “Mitt.” Seven pets, however, do go by “Willard,” Romney’s first name. Who knew?

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