Last week 7-Eleven began its quadrennial 7-Election promotion, allowing patrons of the convenience store to show their support for presidential candidates by choosing one of two specially designed paper cups. Undecided voters, or those who want to keep their political affiliations private, can opt for the regular 7-Eleven coffee cups.
“The goal is to bring awareness to 7-Eleven’s great cup of coffee,” said Margaret Chabris, a 7-Eleven spokeswoman. Chabris added that the contest “is an opportunity to engage consumers and our 7-Eleven store guests in a fun campaign that’s very topical and timely.”
During the two-month cup campaign, each purchase of red, Mitt Romney cup or blue, Barack Obama cup will be recorded. The results will be updated daily on 7-election.com.
Individuals can “vote” as often as want to by buying a cup of joe, or they can “vote” for free from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, when 7-Eleven holds one of its CofFREE days. And considering that the company sells around 1 million cups of coffee a day – more than any other item in their stores – the turnout is expected to be high, Chabris said.
The popular convenience store will also be offering its vanilla-flavored “Purple for the People” peacemaker Slurpee drink during the promotion, which was introduced during the 2010 mid-term elections as a way for customers to express non-partisanship.
Beginning Sept. 28, the “Mobile Oval” political party bus will also be traveling around the country, providing visitors with the opportunity to take pictures inside a mini Oval Office on wheels.
The 7-Election promotion was introduced during the 2000 presidential election, and despite being an openly unscientific poll, the cup count has accurately reflected the results of the past three presidential elections. When asked to explain the surprising correctness, Chabris said, “We like to think the average customer at 7-Eleven reflects the country and the mood of the country. We think we have a good cross-section of customers and guests who shop with us every day.”
One potential bump in the road for 7-Election in terms of accuracy in 2012 is that 15 states are not participating in the competition, including swing state Colorado and a number of reliably Republican states such as Kansas and Oklahoma, because no 7-Eleven franchise stores are located in those states.
That could help explain why after eight days, President Barack Obama is beating Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the cup contest 58 percent to 42 percent, while nationally, according to professional polling site Real Clear Politics, Obama is polling at an average of 48.6 percent to Romney’s 45.5 percent.
The 7-Election promotion runs through Election Day. The final cup totals will be released on the 7-Election website the day after the election.