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President Halloween Masks as Political Predictors

Updated on March 14, 2012 | Source

It may seem odd to think that one of the most consistently successful predictors of the presidential elections is the sale of Halloween masks. Funny as it sounds, the popularity of these masks correlates directly to the popularity of the political candidates. This has been true every election since 1980. In 2004, the sale of Halloween costumes and masks showed this leaning very clearly. Fifty seven percent of political masks sold were of the incumbent George Bush. This beat the forty three percent that favored John Kerry. We know that the winner in that election was President George Bush.

Sales Trends

The trend was traced back to1980 when a large online mask company contacted the other large sellers in the country to see if their sales appeared to reflect the same trends. In 1980 political masks at Halloween favored Reagan over Carter sixty percent to forty percent. This trend continued for Reagan in 1984 when sixty eight percent of the masks sold were of him instead of Mondale. In 1988 mask sales for the first George Bush represented sixty two percent of sales. In 1992 Bill Clinton had forty one percent of the masks to Bush’s thirty nine percent, and four years later it was fifty six percent to forty percent against Dole. In 2000, the Halloween masks favored Bush to Gore by fifty seven percent.

Rubber or Plastic?

These masks are available, on average, for between one and thirty dollars depending on whether they are made of paper, plastic, soft vinyl or rubber. It seems to be the rubber masks that are the ones that the predictions are made with. The masks are caricatures of the actual politicians and have been sold for years to those who like to honor, or just as often, make fun of their favorite or most hated politician. While the sellers of these Halloween masks will tell you that their prediction abilities are astounding, others will tell you they are at best coincidental and at worst a fluke. They will comment on other political figures whose masks sell well. These would include those of Richard Nixon which are still a big favorite. One store owner claimed that the Nixon masks outsold masks of every other politician in his store each year. However, the statistics on mask sales are being gathered on the candidates of the current election cycle and not on political figures in general.

Election Polling at Halloween?

With numbers like these it looks like there will be many people watching the next Halloween during an election year to see which masks are selling the best. The question is, will the sale of Halloween masks tell us who the next president will be, or will the results from these sales influence the undecided voters? How many voters or candidates will be watching the sales of Halloween masks during the election year? Perhaps the next election year’s candidates will be running a poll at Halloween to see if their masks are outselling those of their opponents.

Presidential Mask Poll

Have you ever worn a U.S. president's mask for Halloween?

See results


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  • lisa42 profile image

    lisa42 6 years ago from Sacramento

    Fascinating! Now I'll be very to see how many Obama masks sell this Halloween.