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Coffee drinkers sip on political brew

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Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:24 PM

Salesman Ron Bear stopped at the Brooksville 7-Eleven on Thursday morning to purchase his usual extra-large coffee.

That size cup bears the familiar 7-Eleven logo. Had Bear purchased the large size, he could have picked a red or blue cup, with the names Romney and Obama emblazoned on them respectively.

As part of its nationwide 7-Election Presidential Coffee Cup Poll, the store chain is asking people to make their presidential choice via the cups they choose.

Bear, unaware of the promotion, said if he had the inclination, he would have gone all out for Romney's red cup.

"I would have gotten 10 of them," he joked.

And after Wednesday's first televised presidential debate, Bear believes his man, Romney, will be the victor come November.

"Hands down," he said.

Billy Bumpus of Spring Hill said he would have selected a red cup if there was a different Republican's name on it. Bumpus was rooting for Rick Santorum, who failed to get enough delegate votes during primary season.

Now, Bumpus says he is not sure so he picked a non-partisan cup.

"I'm going to go extra-large especially because I'm undecided," he said. "(Besides) I want more coffee."

Nationally, Obama is ahead of Romney 60-40 percent in the coffee cup poll. Only in Idaho and West Virginia are coffee drinkers choosing more red cups. The candidates are tied in New Hampshire.

In Florida, 57 percent of coffee drinkers are choosing Obama cups, compared to 43 percent for Romney.

The chain's "nonpartisan" cups also are available for undecided customers or those who would rather not publicize their presidential preference.

Each store in the chain is encouraged to post the daily results near the hot beverage island. At the 7-Eleven store at 15310 Cortez Blvd., Romney was outpacing Obama by 247 to 324 margin.

Democrat Jonathan Widger of Brooksville didn't have any trouble picking his large-sized coffee cup Thursday morning.

"I saw (the blue) and I said I'd drink out of an Obama cup today," Widger joked.

Widger said Romney came off better in the debate but that should not be the deciding factor for voters.

"Obama was a little drier and Mitt Romney was a better demagogue," he said.

Obama's presentation was based more on reason and evidence while Romney took on more of a pulpit-type style, Widger said.

Linda Jordan also said Romney won the debate but that doesn't sway her loyalty to Obama.

"I don't care what anybody says, nobody can fix (the economy) in four years," Jordan said. "I think we should give him another four years."

The 7-Eleven officials admit the cup poll is "unabashedly unofficial and unscientific" and all in fun. But the results of the coffee drinker poll have mirrored the results of past presidential elections.

In 2008, coffee drinkers bought more Obama cups than Republican John McCain by a margin of 52-46 percent. In 2004, George Bush garnered 51 percent of the vote to Democrat John Kerry's 49 percent.

Patriotic coffee-drinkers can vote as often as they want in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

The cups sales are instantly tabulated at the register when the sale is made. National, state and major market results are posted daily on www.7-election.com.

"While we have never billed 7-Election as scientific or statistically valid, it is astounding just how accurate this simple count-the-cups poll has been — election after election," the chain's president and CEO Joe DePinto said in a press release. "We have had a lot of fun with it, and I hope we have encouraged people how important it is to vote in the real election."

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