Once again, people are wearing their political affiliations on their coffee sleeves.
For the past five election cycles, 7-Eleven has offered its “7-Election: coffee promotion, where customers can buy a red “Republican” or blue “Democrat” coffee cup to show support for their political party and election candidate. Throughout the promotion, which began on Aug. 31 and runs through Election Day, 7-Eleven tallies how many of each cup are bought in its over 8,000 locations across the country.
“You would think that we would get a decent sample of what the election may turn out to be,” said Hussain Syed, 7-Eleven Store Manager on 111 John Street in Manhattan. “This area in particular is mostly commuters, so we have people coming in from the suburbs, so it’s not like you’re going to get just the Manhattan demographic, you’re getting Long Island, which is historically republican.”
In addition to the red and blue cups, for this election cycle 7-Eleven is also offering a purple non-partisan “Speak Up” cup where customers can write in issues or a candidate of their choice. Although, the only appropriate write-in for these purple cups is “Prince.” RIP.
“I don’t usually buy a lot of coffee, but I saw that they had the promotion going on, so I wanted to make sure that I at least bought a ‘Democrat’ cup, because I know 7-Eleven [will] tally the results at some point,” said Jeff, a digital project manager.
In the couple of hours Marketplace hung around the 111 John St. 7-Eleven, we tallied five blue cups and three red cups sold.
“I got the Republican cup to support Donald Trump, the greatest candidate that’s ever lived,” said Anthony Loman, a lawyer in the Financial District.
But not everyone was on board with the promotion.
“I think it’s very, very weird. Your vote counts, not a cup,” said Nick, who said he was in security. “To me, that’s going overboard.”
7-Eleven says that since the program launched in 2000, more than 6 million cups have been cast in each election. Surprisingly, in the last three election cycles, the 7-Election poll has mirrored U.S. voters within only a few point margin of error.
However, the 7-Election poll might only be counting America’s heaviest coffee drinkers. You can only “vote: with 24 oz cups, so unless the customer is very passionate about showing their political colors, or just wants to get really jacked, they’re probably reaching for the mediums and smalls.
You can track the 7-Election poll on its results page.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.