As election day nears, things are really heating up, especially at neighborhood 7-Eleven stores. Today, the convenience store giant kicks off its third quadrennial 7-Election presidential coffee cup poll.

Unabashedly unscientific, the just-for-fun poll has proven remarkably accurate in elections past, with results closely mirroring the official surveys by the country’s top political pollsters. In the first 7-Election in 2000, only 1 percentage point separated the cup-counts of now-President George W. Bush and Democratic nominee, Sen. Al Gore. Likewise in 2004, President Bush "out-cupped" Sen. John Kerry, 51% to 49%.

During this promotion that runs through Tuesday, Nov. 4 (election day), 7-Eleven invites Americans to pour their favorite hot beverage into either a red 20-ounce cup for Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, or a blue 20-ounce cup for Democratic candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, and cast their cups for their preferred candidate. The colored cups also have the candidates’ names printed on them.

Undecided customers need not choose sides. "Unmarked” 7-Eleven hot beverage cups will still be available as well as a bipartisan red, white and blue Big Gulp fountain drink cups featuring both the donkey and elephant party symbols. 7-Eleven customers may vote as often as they wish, although they may want to switch to decaf after a few cups.

“When 7-Eleven held its first 7-Election eight years ago, we had no idea what the final results would be or how popular the cup poll would become,” said 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. “While we don’t bill this as a statistically valid study by any means, it does reach Americans in their hometowns, on their way to work, after school or just going about their everyday lives. 7-Election provides an interesting daily snapshot of the election.” Depending on which of the 20-plus national polls one reads, Sen. McCain is leading by as much as seven points, or Sen. Obama is leading by as much as seven points, plus or minus five points, of course.

7-Election cups are instantly tabulated at the register when the sale is made. National and state results will be posted daily at www.7-election.com, a Web site created for the coffee cup poll. Major market area and store results are also available upon request. Poll tallies will reflect the percent of candidate cups sold to date, not including undecided. Participating 7-Eleven stores are also encouraged to post the latest race results at their coffee islands.

“7-Election is a warm-up for the real election on Nov. 4,” DePinto said. “While awareness of this presidential election hardly needs to be raised, 7-Eleven is providing a not-so-subtle daily reminder to its citizen-customers about the importance of voting. Candidates might want to pay attention to this great coffee electorate, and even stop by a local 7-Eleven store to campaign or grab a great cup of coffee.”

7-Eleven, which operates, franchises or licenses approximately 7,600 7-Eleven stores in North America, sells more than one million cups of coffee each day.


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