The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


A different kind of prediction method

What do elephants, coffee cups, Halloween masks, the state of Missouri and a Washington D.C. football team all have in common? They could all accurately predict the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.

Traditional election polls are slices of different samples of probable voters and are currently all favoring Senator Barack Obama with various margins. There are however, many unique, non-traditional polls that have been informally conducted that have been surprisingly accurate, especially in recent elections.

Halloween masks

The end of October holiday that gives people a chance to play dress up and escape their mundane lives for a night. It is not unusual to see such mainstays as zombies, vampires, fairy tale laden characters and any pop farce costume roaming the streets on All Hallows’ Eve.

But one difference in an election year is that masks of the various political candidates are caricaturized and worn in droves. Since 1980, the comical mask sales often reflected the soon following election results.

This year has shown an edge of 55 percent to 45 percent of Obama over McCain. Similarly, shows a split of 53 to 47 favoring Obama, closely mirroring national election polls. However, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin masks outpaced her democratic counterpart, Joe Biden by a margin of three to one.

Candidates as an investment

Investors on Wall Street will try to turn anything into a profit-making opportunity. The presidential election is no exception.

In Iowa Electronic Markets, investors are able to speculate in election futures similar to commodities and index futures. Investor’s insights seen through the future’s markets have predicted the election outcome ever since the trading of the futures began in 1988.

As of the day before the election investors were very bullish on Obama, essentially giving him an 85 percent chance of winning.

Children are the future

Since the 1956 election children have not only been the future, but they have predicted it as well.

The Weekly Reader magazine has conducted a poll of students in grades 1-12 on their presidential preferences for the last 13 elections. The students have accurately picked 12 of them.

The 2008 poll of students showed they favor Obama with a margin of 54.7 percent to 42.9 percent.

The Washington Redskins

The NFL team from the nation’s capital has accurately predicted 18 of the last 19 elections. If the Washington Redskins win their final home game in the nation’s capital before the election, than the incumbent or incumbent’s party has maintained the White House.

This year the final home game is occurring on Monday Night Football the night before the election. The second place Redskins are playing the first place Pittsburgh Steelers where the teams are so closely matched that Vegas could not provide a handicap, giving the game an even line.

Pittsburgh defeated Washington 23-6.

Cup of Joe

In 2000, 7-11 convenience stores started putting the presidential candidates on their widely used coffee cups along with the party color, red or blue. Customers can choose which cup they want to drink their morning caffeine hit from and the cups have accurately predicted the winner since their inception.

The poll, which began Oct. 1, has Obama leading the cup sales with a margin of 59.7 percent. It should be noted, however, that there are only 30 states in the U.S. with 7-11 stores.

Republican Party Symbol

In a methodology began just for this election, Valerie, a 26-year-old female African elephant was given the choice between pictures of both the Democratic and Republican nominees at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif. The traditional Republican icon chose the picture of Obama and held it high over her head.

Show Me State

The state of Missouri has acted as a presidential election diving rod over the last century.

In the last century the state has sided with the loser only once. This prompted the coining of the name the “Bellwether State” denoting the phenomenon that the state usually sides with the winner despite the impact its meager 11 electoral votes can have for a candidate.

According to, the Missouri race is far too close to call, with most polls showing an average of a razor thin edge of 0.4 percent for McCain, well within the margin of error.

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