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Who’s Winning—Obama or Romney? A Scary Indicator!

We’ve used everything from the stock market to the outcome of Washington Redskins home games to try to predict the outcome of the presidential election but this indicator is far more scary — the Halloween mask indicator!

Spirit Halloween
Source: Spirithalloween.com
Spirit Halloween

Spirit Halloween, the Halloween pop-up stores owned by novelty-gift chain Spencers, says it has correctly called each of the four presidential elections since the mid-1990s by which candidate’s Halloween mask sold better.

Here are their stats to back it up:

  • 2008: Barack Obama outsold John McCain with 60 percent of presidential mask sales.
  • 2004: George W. Bush outsold John Kerry with 65 percent of sales.
  • 2000: George W. Bush outsold Al Gore with 57 percent of sales. (How come Gore didn’t contest THAT number?!)
  • 1996: Bill Clinton outsold Bob Dole with 71 percent of sales.

So, even though Halloween is a month away, we thought we’d do an early check to see who’s winning so far this year — Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?

According to Spirit, Obama is ahead with 64 percent of sales, compared to 36 percent for Romney.

Spirit also has a poll on its site, where you can vote for a candidate without actually buying a mask. At the moment, it’s trending the opposite of sales — Romney is winning with more than 800 votes to Obama’s 600-some votes, with Batman coming in a not-so-close third as the write-in candidate. He’s got about 60 votes.

BuyCostumes.com also does a presidential-mask indicator, and they, too, claim to have a sterling record: They correctly predicted Obama in 2008 with 55 percent of presidential-mask sales, Bush in 2004 with 53 percent and Bush in 2000 with 57 percent.

Their sales indicator has the Obama-Biden ticket winning with 64 percent of sales compared to 36 percent for the Romney-Ryan ticket.

They also do a state-by-state indicator, which shows red states (GOP ahead), blue states (Dems ahead) and grey states (50-50 split). At the moment, it’s tied with about 20 blue states and 20 red states, with 10 grey states.

In the latest NBC-WSJ-Marist College pollof potential voters, Obama was leading in three more swing states — New Hampshire, Nevada, and North Carolina. So, let’s do a little test — what does the presidential-mask indicator say about those states?

It’s a tie in New Hampshire, Nevada is firmly in the Democratic corner with Obama-Biden getting 79 percent of the mask vote, and North Carolina is also blue with a whopping 97 percent of sales going to the Dems.

Hey, two outta three ain't bad!

Kathe Sheehan over at The Costumerin Schenectady, where, incidentally, Gene Simmons used to buy his Kiss makeup, said in the last election, if you were going by sales, the winner would’ve been Sarah Palin!

“The thing that made our last Halloween was Sarah Palin wigs,” Sheehan said. Everybody wanted to be Sarah Palin. We actually ran out and had to run out and buy some brown wigs and a bunch of glasses so we could make some Sarah Palin kits!”

“Some people just lend themselves to caricature,” Sheehan said. “Maybe the present candidates should try and copy her hair!”

So, OK, that Sarah Palin thing didn’t quite pan out as a prediction but if Sheehan had to make the call this year, the winner would be …

Richard Nixon!

“He has outsold Obama AND Romney,” Sheehan said, adding that he’s got the best-selling presidential mask in history, hands down. “You just put on the mask, stick two fingers in the air and put on a suit and that’s all you need!”

Well, there you have it. So far, most of the mask indicators are pointing to an Obama victory, with a strong showing for Nixon. For sure, we’ll have 17,489 more polls and indicators in the next month or so until the election. In the words of Nixon himself:

“A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.”

And obviously, Halloween-goers can’t quit you, Richard Nixon!


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  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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