7-Eleven's Presidential Coffee Cup Poll has accurately predicted the winner of the General Election in three previous cycles. But this year, as real national polls show a tight race between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the convenience store's results are way off track, giving President Obama a commanding lead nationally as well as in crucial battleground states. And after Monday night's final Presidential Debate, 7-Eleven's results could be even further from reality.
has the two candidates tied with 47% of the vote each.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama has 47%.
7-Eleven describes the poll as "unabashedly unofficial and unscientific," but it mirrored General Election results in 2000, 2004, and 2008. As of today, it's even more "unscientific," with President Obama polling well ahead in most of the crucial battleground states. Compare that to the newest Politico/George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll, which shows Romney ahead 50% to President Obama's 48% in ten battleground states, unchanged from the previous week.
In the 7-Election poll, President Obama is winning 56% to Romney's 44% in Florida, and 58% to 42% in Ohio and Virginia. The spread is larger in Iowa, where the President is winning 65%-35%, and in Colorado, where he's beating Romney 60%-40%.
Two swing states in the coffee poll are closer to real poll results: In New Hampshire, the two candidates were tied last week. As of today, the President has a slight lead, with 51% to Romney's 49%. Wisconsin, home state to VP candidate Paul Ryan, is currently a dead heat.
Romney is currently winning just two of the states in the poll. In Idaho, he has 55% to President Obama's 45%, and in West Virginia, he has 53% to the President's 47%. Fourteen states are not participating.
Unlike national polls, which typically survey between 1,000 and 2,000 voters, 7-Eleven's poll is based on millions of purchases. The company of course encourages consumers to make repeat buys of coffee to boost results for their favorite candidates.
"7-Election has never been a scientific study, so it’s anybody’s guess why the spread between the cup counts is greater than national polls; you know, the real ones," Nancy Smith, 7-Eleven vice president for marketing, said in a press release. "7-Eleven customers are younger than the general population, and some news sources have suggested that younger voters, who communicate primarily by wireless phones rather than landlines, may be under-counted by pollsters."
Or it could be simply that Obama enthusiasts like 7-Eleven coffee more than those in the Romney camp. Starbucks might have a very different coffee poll.
In 2008, the 7-Election gave Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 46% of the vote, while Mr. Obama got 52%. He won the election with 52.9% of the popular vote. In 2004, the 7-Election predicted that President George W. Bush would defeat Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) 51 to 49%. Bush won the election with 50.7% of the vote to Kerry’s 48.3%. (Above: The latest national map)
In 2000, the Supreme Court ultimately ruled George W. Bush the winner over Vice President Al Gore. The coffee cup poll predicted Bush would win with 1% of the vote. Gore was up by .5% of the popular vote.
Blast from the past: The Presidential Slurpee Summit...
In November of 2010, 7-Eleven tried to actually get into the White House, offering President Obama Slurpee machines to be installed in the residence so he could host a bipartisan "Slurpee Summit" for members of Congress. The company also offered a Slurpee machine to then-Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), who also declined the gift.
Undeterred by the White House's lack of interest, the company rolled out a major campaign, unveiling "bipartisan" "purple for the people" Slurpees. They launched a national tour, with Slurpee trucks traveling across the US to deliver free frozen beverages to happy fans. The campaign finally died when the President publicly commented on it.
"No Slurpee Summit," the President declared. 7-Eleven still sells the purple Slurpees, however.
*Top photo courtesy of 7-Eleven