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Mass opinion in mask sales: Tracking begins in the Spirit Halloween Presidential Index

What do Gallup, the Wall Street Journal, Marist and Quinnipiac colleges and the New York Times polls have in common? In terms of pure reliability and awesomeness, Spirit Halloween says they pale in comparison to the Spirit Halloween Presidential Index.

Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are turning their campaigns to winning those important swing states. And their strategists are looking at the polls.

But are they looking at the right polls? One important predictor of presidential politics since the mid-1990s would have them wondering: Are enough people buying my guy’s mask for this Halloween?

In the past four elections, nationwide sales of U.S. presidential candidate masks by Spirit Halloween unmaskes the winner days before general election results were in:

In 2008, the Spirit Halloween Presidential Index gave Obama the edge over John McCain, 60-40 percent.

• 2004: John Kerry, 35 percent; George W. Bush, 65 percent.

• 2000: George W. Bush, 57 percent; Al Gore, 43 percent.

• 1996: Bill Clinton, 71 percent; Bob Dole, 29 percent.

The sales have only just begun in this year's contest.

Steven Silverstein of Spirit Halloween says, “With the elections falling just days after Halloween, the mask factor has proven to be a consistent and accurate predictor of the next president. Both Halloween and the elections are proud American traditions. The Spirit Halloween Presidential Index has proven to be a fun, lighthearted way to combine the two.”

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