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At the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C., you can vote for the best cheese with your taste buds or your politics. (Courtesy of Park Hyatt Washington)

Red Food, Blue Food: Edible Polls Give Obama The Edge, For Now

by Allison Aubrey
Sep 22, 2012

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The Donkey cocktail is leading in the polls so far at Lincoln, a restaurant in Washington, D.C. So far, the Elephant cocktail is the runner-up at Lincoln.

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Allison Aubrey

Wanna cast your vote early? In Washington, D.C., and around the nation, food and drink have become a popular proxy for voter polls. Though they're unlikely to be accurate predictors, the results of a few seem to be drifting in the same direction as the presidential election polls conducted by professional pollsters at the moment.

Let's start with cheese. While it doesn't have a deep history of political symbolism, it may get a little more attention this year as GOP VP pick and Wisconsinite Paul Ryan told supporters last month that his "veins bleed with cheese."

At the Park Hyatt in D.C., cheese specialist Lisa Hviding is inviting visitors to choose between blue cheese and red cheese. Options for Democrats: a blue cheese called Ewe's Blue and a cow's milk cheese from Lazy Lady Farm in Vermont named Barick Obama. (It's aged four to six weeks and has a "soft elastic body," according to the farm's website.)

And for Romney supporters: Red Hawk, procured from Cowgirl Creamery, a washed rind cheese that has a reddish-orange tint to its rind.

So, who's ahead? "Ewe's Blue might be the most popular at this point," says Hviding. Lest we take this too seriously, she says, so far, most guests seem to be choosing on the basis of their taste buds, not necessarily their politics.

The Donkey and the Elephant are also turning up as part of cocktail polls. At Lincoln, a restaurant in D.C., bartenders are keeping score on a blackboard.

GOP-leaning customers can choose The Elephant, which is made with rhubarb-infused whiskey, homemade strawberry liquor, lime juice and bitters.

And Democrats? The Donkey: A blackberry-infused gin with ginger syrup, lime juice and soda. A cocktail will set you back $11. So far, the "Blue District" of D.C. is choosing Donkeys, which lead Elephants 41 to 36.

As our colleague Linton Weeks has reported, the 7-Eleven Coffee Cup challenge is yet another opportunity for customers to signal their pick for prez.

Though the brew is the same regardless of your politics, customers can pick a red or blue paper to-go cup.

At last check, Obama leads Romney, 58 percent to 42 percent across the country. And when you break it down by states, there are even bigger spreads. In Washington, D.C., Obama's up 76 percent to Romney's 24 percent.

Romney does hold the lead among 7-Eleven coffee drinkers in three states that may lean to the right in the upcoming presidential election: West Virginia, Idaho and New Hampshire.

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