Scary Indicator II: Who's Ahead Now—Obama or Romney?
CNBC.com News Editor
It's less than two weeks to the election and with three presidential debates and a VP throwdown behind us, it's time to check in with our scary indicator to see who's ahead — Halloween masks.
Both Spirit Halloween and BuyCostumes.com say they have correctly predicted the winner of the past few presidential elections using sales of the candidates' masks for Halloween as a gauge.
When we last checked in at the end of September, both stores had Obama-Biden ahead of Romney-Ryan by 64 percent to 36 percent.
(Read More: Who's Winning--Obama or Romney? A Scary Indicator!)
After a stumble in the first presidential debate, President Barack Obama's numbers started to slide and GOP challenger Mitt Romney has been gaining ground. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, released last Sunday, Obama and Romney were deadlocked at 47 percent each among likely voters. And a Gallup poll even showed Romney pulling ahead 52 percent to 45 percent ahead of Monday's final debate showdown between the candidates.
So, is the Halloween mask indicator showing the same trend?
Dan Haight, CEO of BuyCostumes.com, said absolutely.
"If you would've asked me two weeks ago, I was almost ready to declare victory for Obama-Biden, prior to the first debate!" Haight said. "But now, it has tightened up."
What was a 24-point lead for Obama has now shrunk to just 2 points.
As of Oct. 25, sales of Obama-Biden masks were up 51 percent on BuyCostumes.com, compared with 49 percent for Romney-Ryan.
"I certainly think that after that first debate, something happened," Haight said. "Whether it was just a re-energizing of the Republican Party or something — that's just what we saw from mask sales." (Read More: Romney Scores in Debate — but Will It Be Enough?)
For sure, Haight said they have never seen a swing quite like this before. Typically, he said, they see an ebb and flow of about 2 points — nothing like this 24-point lead down to 2. And, how quickly it moved was particularly surprising.
Man, you screw up one debate and that's all people remember! Haha.
The swing hasn't been that dramatic over at Spirit Halloween, where the numbers are holding fairly steady at 63 percent for Obama and 37 percent for Romney, give or take about 3 percent in the past few days.
OK, so presidential candidates aside, if we opened up this race to all Halloween mask sales — all people, all characters — and picked the president based on which mask was the most popular, who would win?
Kathe Sheehan over at The Costumer in Schenectady, N.Y., said she stands by her prediction of Richard Nixon! Not only has he outsold both Obama and Romney masks but he's the biggest-selling presidential mask in history, Sheehan said.
She also said she gets a lot of requests for characters from the hottest smartphone games and apps. She calls it the "Angry Birds phenomenon." They're so last year but she said she's getting a lot of requests for a new TV show with Lego characters in it. The problem is, she said, most Halloween costumes are made offshore (China, etc.), so the lag time is too long and costume shops can't get the hottest game or app characters in when demand is hottest. She said a lot of these requests just go unmet.
Hello, entrepreneurs — an opportunity for some American jobs here?!
Over at Spirit Halloween, the answer to the question "Who would be president if you looked at sales of all Halloween masks?" is a little more warm and fuzzy — and, um, vulgar. It's "Ted," the "somewhat antagonistic, drunk" bear (IMBD's words) voiced by Seth Mac Farlane in the movie "Ted."
Can you see it — Ted as president? Anytime there's a threat to national security, he'd say, "Alright, come on. Let's sing the 'Thunder Song.'"
When you hear the sound of thunder, don't you get too scared. Just grab your thunder buddy and say ---
Sorry, we can't print that next part.
Over at BuyCostumes.com, the answer is much … scarier.
"Freddy Krueger!" Haight said, referring to the disfigured, knives-for-fingers bad guy from "Nightmare on Elm Street." "He may be even scarier than the two candidates we have!" Haight quipped.
OK, so then if we chose the vice president based on who the second-most popular mask was, who — or *gulp* what — would it be?
"The VP would be a werewolf!" Haight said.
Man, Freddy Krueger-werewolf — that IS a scary ticket! But you might be tempted to vote for them, right? I mean, wouldn't they be able to push things through Congress much faster than their human counterparts? Imagine this:
Freddy Krueger: "We can do this the easy way — or the hard way. We can solve it right here, right now on the floor — or I can come back tonight in your dreams!"
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