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Election Day Predictions: Time Tested Ways Of Forecasting Who Wins

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Nov/03/2008
McCain Palin Halloween

Whether it's top selling Halloween masks, sale of 7 Eleven cups or that perfect predictor of the Washington Redskins win/loss record, Election Day prediction tools beyond that of the polls are readily available.

Jodi Weigand of the Pittsburgh Tribune Gazette analyzed a few Election Day Prediction models the day before the big day.

A Washington Redskins win Monday Night anyone?

Well, streaks are meant to be broken and this one was when George W. Bush got re-elected in 2004.

The Redskins' prediction power goes back to 1936. When the team wins its final home game before the general election, the incumbent party wins the election, according to Snopes.com, a Web site that researches urban legends. The streak ended in 2004, when the Skins lost and President George W. Bush was re-elected.

How about Halloween costumes?

The more people who buy a presidential candidate's mask, the greater the chance that candidate will win the election. Spirit Halloween political mask sales have matched the election outcome since 1996, while Buycostumes.com has foretold the winner in the past two.

"You can express yourself however you want to without people questioning (during Halloween)," said Heather Golin, Spirit Halloween's director of corporate communications. "With the election being such a hot topic, it's safe to say that that's why political masks are so popular."

Obama leads this year's mask sales by a wide margin, according to both retailers.

At this year's Halloween Parade in Miami Beach's famed Lincoln Road, we counted three John McCains (for which one of them was us), two Obamas and a whole lot of Sarah Palins.  Obama masks were hard to find in the stores as - yes - they were sold out pretty early at many of them.

There are those 7-Eleven cups, which would actually seem to make perfect sense.

Coffee drinkers know their Joe -- whether it's Joe the Plumber or Joe Six-pack. During the 2000 and '04 presidential elections, 7-Eleven sold Republican red and Democratic blue 20-ounce coffee cups with the candidates' names on them. Sales successfully predicted both election outcomes, according to 7-Eleven's Web site.

"It's remarkable. They were very, very close, within a few points," said Margaret Chabris, a 7-Eleven spokeswoman. "If we do it again this year, that would be kind of wild."

Obama cups are outselling McCain cups, 60 percent to 40 percent.

And of course those betting prediction markets.  Sportsbook.com now had Obama at -1000 odds - a virtual "lock".

Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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