It may not be the most scientific polling method – but it has a better track record than many of the actual polls. During the election season, 7-Eleven gave patrons the option of buying blue or red presidential coffee cups in a “7-Election 2012” promotion. And though 7-Eleven customers overshot it for Obama (choosing blue cups over red at a rate of 59 to 41 percent), they still accurately predicted the overall outcome of the general election for the fourth election in a row.
Of the thirty-five or so participating states, only three went for Romney: Idaho, West Virginia and New Hampshire (which didn't even go to Romney in the general election).
Texas was pretty close to the national average, selecting Obama cups over Romney cups 57 to 43. And in a surprising turn of events, Dallas was 64-36 for Obama while Austin was only 62-38. Actually only one city in Texas – Grapevine – bought more red cups. Maybe there's some truth to the theory that Texas could turn blue Texas turning blue, if we just turn out the 7-Eleven coffee drinkers.
So are these particular customers really politically savvy? Are they a great representation of middle America? Is it a complete coincidence?
One theory, from the 7-Eleven marketing team, is that “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.” So there may actually be some validity to their success.
But whatever the reason, these caffeinated consumers are giving Nate Silver a run for his money.