You've got to hand it to the big brains at 7-Eleven Corporation. They've made the quick-stop market not only a reliable landmark in nearly every town in America - almost 7,000 in the U.S., another thousand in Canada, and 39,300 more around the world - and now they're infiltrating the presidential electoral process.
Between 6 and 10 a.m. this Friday, you can stop into any participating 7-Eleven and get a free large-size cup of hot coffee, cappuccino, latte or tea (while supplies last). Okay, that's even cooler than their annual July promotion to give away free Slurpees, especially for those of us happily addicted to caffeine.
But that's not all: the coffee give-away is the leading edge of an even larger promotion, to turn 7-Eleven customers into an "unabashedly unscientific and just-for-fun poll" to determine who is going to win the Nov. 6 election, Obama or Romney.
How? That free coffee comes to you by your request in a specially-designed cup, red or blue, signaling your political preference in the coming election. The politically-charged coffee sales started three weeks ago, on Sept. 6 - two full months before Election Day - and has already resulted in a surprising national trend that far exceeds other more statistically validated polling.
And a political party bus called the Mobile Oval will tour the country "offering free coffee samples, handing out coupons and taking photos of visitors in the Mobile Oval or with their favorite candidate." The location of this rolling promo, and other updates on the promotion, can be found online at www.7-election.com.
In Napa, all of the 7-Eleven stores are participating, according to the site.
None is a designated polling place, according to the League of Women Voters' SmartVoter website.
The 7-Election is a dynamic poll, meaning it's constantly updated with the purchase and (presumably) political preference of their national sales of their "steaming hot cup of democracy" on this web page.
At present, Obama coffee sales lead those of Romney supporters, 58 percent to 42 percent — a far greater gap than in any professional poll.
Of course they call it the 7-Election, and brag that the promotion in past years "correctly mirrored the final results of the 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections" by determining, through this coffee caucus, which candidate would win.
We do note, however, that as a Mormon, Mitt Romney won't be drinking coffee anyway. That probably explains the 16-point difference, don't you think?
Tell us in the comments.