Forget Polls: Halloween Masks And Football Predict The Election

A bunch of random events have somehow correlated with election outcomes, which means they obviously deserve our attention

Photo Illustration: R. A. Di Ieso
Oct 20, 2016 at 12:42 PM ET

Never mind the polls and prediction markets. If you want to know who’s going to be our next president, just pay attention to the sales of 7-11 coffee cups, Halloween masks, who’s winning at football, and what one county way out in the Midwest thinks.

What better way to do your civic duty than by buying a cup of joe? Every four years since 2000, the convenience store chain behind the Slurpee has gone oddly political with its 7-Election campaign. For a few months in the Fall, 7-11 allows customers to buy their coffee in either a blue or red cup to symbolize Democrat or Republican. This year, neither of the candidates are named on the cups. Perhaps that’s because 7-11 doesn’t wish to anger early morning customers holding hot, chuckable beverages.

More 7-Eleven’s “7-Election” Poll Actually Says A Lot About This Election

Party-colored coffee cups turned out to be a surprisngly accurate indicator in every election since then, including in 2012, when blue outsold red. The results are less clear this year, since 7-11 introduced a purple “speak up cup” for people who don’t wish to elect either party’s candidate. Or for people who don’t want to think about this mess of an election while buying their morning coffee.

“It’s perfect for those who prefer bipartisan coffee, are undecided or don’t want to publicly display their political persuasion,” a spokesperson told Vocativ. Disregard those ambiguous “speak up cups,” however, and Clinton is winning as of October 20, with 31 percent of all customers choosing blue, while 29 percent chose red.

One East Hamptons souvenir shop has correctly predicted the outcome of every presidential election since 2000 by selling campaign-themed shatterproof cups. As of Wednesday, The Monogram Shop has sold 4,645 Clinton cups, considerably more than Trump cups, which tally 3,296. That’s despite the owner, Devon Menges, revealing to Vocativ that Trump supporters have attempted to sway the outcome (and perhaps the entire election) by buying the $3 cups in bulk.

“Trump people definitely come in and put down 20 cups to sort of up the tally,” Menges told Vocativ on the phone. She said the store keeps a running tally in the front window, so customers are fully aware of the weight of their purchase.

As it does every election, Scholastic polled thousands of children between kindergarten and grade 12 to see who they think should be America’s next president.

Scholastic polled around 150,000 kids, and 52 percent of them voted for Hillary Clinton. Just 35 percent voted for Donald Trump. Unfortunately for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate is even more unpopular among kids as young as five than he is with the electorate. Only around 2 percent of children gave Johnson their vote.

The book company’s polls have been startlingly accurate. Their respondents have only been wrong twice since 1940, in 1948 and 1960.

The Washington Redskins beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27 – 20 at FedExField in D.C. on Sunday, October 16. That’s significant, and not just for the Redskins. The team appears to have distorted the laws of probability when it moved to D.C. from Boston in 1936, and now whenever the Redskins win their final home game before a presidential election, the political party that holds the presidential power gets to keep its seat in the Oval Office.

Well, most of the time. Impressively, the theory held true for every single election between 1936, when F. D. Roosevelt was elected, through to 2000. Gore’s defeat to Bush in 2004 wasn’t just a loss for climate change, but for the Redskins rule, as the Redskins’ loss to the Packers meant Bush should have went home with nothing, too. The rule worked its charms again in 2008, when Obama defeated McCain, but failed in 2012 with the Redskins’ loss to the Panthers. Sunday’s win against the Eagles is a clear prediction that this year’s presidency is Clinton’s, but the results of the past few elections have shaken our faith in this once infallible fortune teller.

Spirit Halloween, which claims to be the “world’s largest Halloween retailer,” polled customers and discovered 55 percent want to dress up as Trump instead of Clinton.

Under usual circumstances, it makes sense that whichever candidate more people decide to dress up as on Halloween is the most popular candidate, and the candidate who will probably win the election. But this election is not usual.

Most people who chose the Trump costume said it was “to be funny,” whereas most who went with the Clinton costume said it was because they “like her.” If that doesn’t make things clearer, consider this: Almost a third of people who wanted to dress as Trump said it was “to mock him.” Only half as many said they would dress up as Clinton for the same reason.

The candidate with better hair is almost always the one who wins the election. Gerald Ford, the only balding president inside the last 50 years, wasn’t even elected by the people. Trump’s combover has been the subject of ridicule this election, but Dr. William Yates from Yates Hair Science and author of “Hair Matters” controversially hands this year’s imaginary best hair award to the Republican ticket. And it’s all Tim Kaine’s fault. Yates doesn’t believe Trump’s hair is considerably worse than Clinton’s, but believes Mike Pence’s buzz cut is much nicer to look at than Kaine’s receding hairline.

“Good hair” is subjective, though, so we’ll let you be the judge on this one.

Every election since 1992, Family Circle magazine has asked the first ladies of nominees to submit a cookie recipe. Whichever recipe its readers deemed favorite became an indicator of who would go on to win the election, presumably because the candidates, having eaten their wives’ cookies, had sufficient nourishment to lead their country.

The winner of the cookie contest ended up in the Oval Office every election until 2008, when Cindy McCain’s recipe was deemed tastier than Michelle Obama’s, according to Time. The last two times Clinton submitted her cookie recipe, Bill won, so it makes perfect sense why Bill, who could be the United States’ first “first gentleman,” released exactly the same recipe this time around under the guise “Clinton Family’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.” We know what you’re up to, Bill.

Needless to say, Clinton’s recipe won.

Forget swing states: Vigo County on the western border of Indiana has decided virtually every election since time immemorial. Sort of.

Indiana is one of the resolute red states, and Trump has led there for most of the 2016 election season. But Vigo County doesn’t care what the rest of this Midwestern state thinks. Its 100,000 residents have picked the winner of the past 15 presidential elections, even when almost every other county in Indiana voted Republican. As CNN pointed out, the county that’s obsessed with the Gatlin Brothers and Enrique Iglesias has only gotten it wrong two times since 1888.

What about this year? Politico reported last September that Vigo County had declared its undying love for Donald Trump. We’ll find out on November 8 if anything’s changed.