7-11 Needlessly Obscures Presidential Coffee Cup Poll

September 7th, 2016 3:25 PM

Why, 7-11, WHY?  Is no one in your convenience store chain organization familiar with that old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" And fix it they did. Oh how they fixed it.

Despite the fact that the 7-11 presidential coffee cup poll has accurately predicted the outcome in every election since it began in 2000, this year they changed it in a major way. So is the nation leaning red or blue? Neither. According to their new method the USA is an indeterminate purple. Yes, this year you can pick a purple cup. The completely unnecessary, and confusing, change was reported recently in Fortune:

Not looking forward to voting on Nov. 8? Buy a cup of coffee from your local 7-Eleven instead.

The convenience store kicked off its quadrennial 7-Election on Wednesday, wherein customers can show their support for the presidential campaign by buying specially-marked coffee cups. So customers who want to support Republican nominee Donald Trump should buy a red cup and those who want to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton should buy a blue cup.

New this year is a non-partisan purple cup, called the “Speak Up” cup, that encourages customers to “discuss or write in their own issue—or candidate—this election,” 7-Eleven stated in a press release. This could be a “desire for World Peace” or third-party support for candidates Jill Stein or Gary Johnson (though 7-Eleven lumps these votes with the votes for kittens and Kanye West).

The result is the indeterminate purple currently is in the lead. 7-11 didn't even have the imagination to use a more neutral color since purple looks too much like blue. A quick look at the 7-11 presidential coffee cup state by state poll map would lead many outside observers to conclude that Hillary is way in the lead because it looks like a sea of blue across the county. Would it have been too tough for 7-11 to have picked green or yellow for their non-partisan cup?

To make matters worse, this year you don't actually vote for a specific presidential candidate with your purchased cups because their names are missing. For the first time you buy either red cups for Republican or Blue cups for Democrat. In previous years they used the same color scheme but with the actual names of the candidates on the cup. For example, in 2012 the cups were clearly labeled "ROMNEY" on the red cups and "OBAMA" on the blue cups. It just adds to the confusion if a Democrat wants to vote for Trump this year but he has to pick a Republican (sans name) cup even though he is still a Democrat. 

Another huge problem seems to be the availability of the cups. Today your humble correspondent went to my local 7-11 to check out the presidential coffee cup election for myself but I was unable to vote for the simple reason that only undefined purple cups were available. How common is this situation at other 7-11 stores because this would definitely skew the results. You can see the picture of my limited choice in the Tweet I sent to 7-11 today.

The 7-11 coffee cup presidential poll is updated daily until the election. You can check out the state by state results by clicking here. Some of the results are quite surprising such as Trump (Republican) being way ahead of Clinton (Democrat) in New York and New Jersey. Unfortunately, due to the completely unneccessary changes that 7-11 made in their coffee cup poll, I can't attest to its accuracy or even compare it with their previous purple-free polls that actually NAMED the candidates.

The concept of the 7-11 coffee cup presidential poll is fascinating but unfortunately this year that organization isn't helping matters with their silly changes.