Victory is sweet: 'Cookie polls' aim to predict the outcome of the 2020 election

Some of the cookie polls have correctly guessed the winners of the past several elections.
Hatboro, United States. 01st Oct, 2020. Biden and Trump cookies await to be sold as part of their poll Thursday, October 01, 2020 at Lochel's Bakery in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Each cookie sold counts for one vote for a candidate, Trump or Biden. At the mom
Biden and Trump cookies await to be sold as part of their poll Thursday, October 01, 2020 at Lochel's Bakery in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Each cookie sold counts for one vote for a candidate. William Thomas Cain / Alamy
/ Source: TODAY

Around the country, voters are casting their ballots — but in some areas, the voting process is a little sweeter.

Several bakeries are running "cookie polls," where they sell desserts with presidential candidates' names or likenesses baked onto the sweet treats. Voters buy a cookie for whichever candidate they support.

While the polls are obviously unscientific, they do hold a certain weight with shoppers. All of the cookie polls that TODAY Food found show incumbent President Donald Trump in the lead, sometimes by a major margin.

At Lochel's Bakery in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, the cookies have accurately predicted the winner for the past three elections. According to their tally, Trump has a solid first-place ranking, even as polls show that the state is likely to be a tight race.

In Houston, Texas, Three Brothers Bakery has accurately predicted election winners for the past 16 years. While Trump is ahead in their rankings, bakery owner Bobby Jucker suggested that doesn't necessarily mean he holds a lead.

Not all of the cookie polls are great at predicting the future. In 2012, Uncle Mike's Bake Shoppe, located in Wisconsin, sold more Mitt Romney cookies than Barack Obama ones — but Obama was the one who moved into the White House. In 2016, though, the cookies were correct, with more voters buying Trump cookies than Hillary Clinton ones. This year, Trump leads Biden by a significant number, according to the bakery's frequently updated website, but owner Mike Van Vande Walle said that he's not sure how much that really means.

"Usually the (candidates) are within ten points of each other, but this year, Trump is winning 2-to-1," Vande Walle told TODAY. "I have no clue why that's happening. My only guess is that some people buy them because they're supporting the candidate, but other people buy them as a thing to give their friend, who hates the other guy. It's a fun thing."

Despite the serious topic, though, Vande Walle said he hopes that people don't read into the "polls" too seriously.

"It's just a fun thing. It pulls the customers in, and they want to have some fun," he said. "With a big election, people get a little edgy, so this is just to make life fun, so you can enjoy this time a little."

For some bakeries, the polls are more than just a lighthearted way to get a sense of the election. The popularity of the political cookies — which can be ordered online and shipped nationwide at all of the bakeries listed here — is helping them recover from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Lochel's Bakery posted on its Facebook page that they had never expected such a response.

"NEVER in my wildest dream did I think we would hit 5,000 cookies let alone 31,114 so far. Holy cookies!" wrote the bakery's owner on Oct. 31. "We still have 3 days left to sell..... wow just wow!"

Vande Walle added that his store has seen some success as well: They've sold over 2,000 election cookies already, and expect to sell at least a thousand more on Election Day.