POLITICAL EYE: Nevada 'coffee vote' goes for Obama so far

Tired of endless political polls that don't seem right or consistent?

Have a cup of coffee and forget about it.

And if you stop by the local 7-Eleven for your cup o' Joe, don't forget to vote with your purchase.

The convenience store chain's "7-Election" game that lets customers vote Republican (red cup) or Democratic (blue cup) when they buy coffee has correctly predicted who will win the presidency since 2000.

The U.S. Supreme Court apparently went to all that trouble to award the White House to Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore for nothing. The justices could have just checked 7-Eleven coffee sales to end the constitutional crisis in the overtime election.

"The unabashedly unscientific and just-for-fun poll has correctly mirrored the final results of the 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections with more than 6 million cups cast each election year," 7-Eleven said in a news release last week touting the gimmick. "In other words, they've created a bit of a coffee caucus."

Results will be announced on Election Day (Nov. 6), when voters can cast real ballots.

For up-to-the-minute updates, 7-Eleven has a website that allows Internet users to track results state by state. There's a breakdown for select cities, too, including Las Vegas and nine others in Nevada.

President Barack Obama is leading his GOP challenger Mitt Romney in Nevada in most real polls by about four points (49-45) on average, according to the Real Clear Politics polling tracker.

According to the 7-Eleven coffee vote tally at the end of last week, Obama was further ahead - 61 percent to 39 percent - in Nevada. It begs the question, would the president be leading at Starbucks, where coffee costs a lot more, since Romney is more popular among wealthier folks?

In Las Vegas, Obama was leading the 7-Eleven coffee vote 63 percent to 37 percent.

In Reno, Obama was ahead, too, 55-45, matching his margin of victory here in 2008.

Outside the Reno-Sparks areas in Spanish Springs, a more conservative place where people like their horses and their open land, Romney was leading the 7-Eleven crowd, 57-43.

In Carson City, Romney was up over Obama, 55-45, by the cup. And in more conservative Gardnerville, the Republican challenger was leading the president 63-37 with the coffee crowd.

A 7-Eleven "Mobile Oval" version of the president's Oval Office will be touring the country as part of the coffee campaign, stopping in Las Vegas on Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus, 1455 E. Tropicana Ave. Coffee will be served, of course.

That's the same day as Halloween, which brings up yet another silly season poll gimmick.

Spirit Halloween, a costume company, has tracked how well masks of the presidential candidates sell to correctly predict the outcome of the White House race since President Bill Clinton beat his GOP challenger, Bob Dole, in 1996. Obama won with 60 percent of the mask vote in 2008.

"Currently, Obama is out­selling Romney," the company said without revealing the point spread.

The goofy polls can't be much worse than the real ones lately, it seems. In the past week alone, polls of likely Nevada voters have ranged from showing Obama up by nine points over Romney to a tie, 46-46.

Charlie Cook of the respected Cook Political Report said Friday that most inside analysts believe Obama is beating Romney in Nevada anywhere from two points to five points, making it a near-dead heat.

And the race doesn't appear to be moving much in Nevada or other battleground states, Cook said, with early voting starting on Oct. 20 in the Silver State, less than three weeks. Romney is looking toward the three presidential debates, starting Wednesday in Denver, to shake things up.

"While there are plenty of reasons to believe that the economic situation is not getting much better - taking one step forward, one back - the public seems to be thinking that things are getting better, and in terms of politics, voters count more than economists," Cook wrote. "Again, this election isn't over and could still change. But there are no signs that it is changing today."

Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers @reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.