Bush wins - according to mask sales

By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 1, 2004

Every election since 1980 has been accurately predicted by the sales of the caricature masks of the candidates, and this year President George W. Bush masks have been outselling Sen. John Kerry masks, but only by 6 percent as of yesterday.

Most local costume shops like Creative Costumes, 828 N. Stone Ave., and Party City, 5350 E. Broadway Blvd., have sold out of both candidates' masks.

Party City only sold one Kerry mask because that was all they received and have not had a demand for more.

Michael Lown-Peters, owner of Lown's Costumes, 5933 E. Pima St., said he has sold five times as many Bush masks as Kerry masks, but said usually people are buying the masks to make fun of the president.

"One person bought a Bush mask and a Pinocchio nose to attach to the front of it," Lown-Peters said.

Students think more of the masks are selling for the same reason.

"I think Bush is more fun to make fun of than Kerry," said Ariel Serafin, an undeclared freshman.

Lown-Peters received 30 of each mask and has only four Bush masks remaining and a whole stack of Kerry masks left, he said.

Allison Warren, a business sophomore, said she thinks the way the mask looks probably plays a big role in which is chosen by a shopper.

"It probably depends on how the presidents are depicted in the masks," Warren said.

Creative Costumes on Stone Avenue has sold out of both candidate likenesses, but sold out of Kerry masks first, said Katrina Brown, store manager.

By the numbers...

Mask sales in election years


"We sold more quantity of Bush masks, only because we've had them longer," Brown said.

Andres Navarro, an undeclared freshman, said he thinks more people want to make fun of Bush because of his public appearances while in office.

"He's not the best speaker, so I guess people want to mock him," Navarro said.

Danae Garrett, a marketing sophomore, said she would think more Kerry masks would have sold, just because he's funnier-looking.

"I think he already looks like a cartoon character," Garret said.

Buycostumes.com, an online costume retailer, has traced the sales of presidential masks since 1980 by talking to mask manufacturers and retailers across the country.

The company's Presidential Mask Election Predictor showed Bush Masks outselling Kerry masks at 53 and 47 percent sales, respectively.

In 1980, 60 percent of masks sold were of Ronald Reagan's likeness, and only 40 percent were of Jimmy Carter, who lost to Reagan.

In 1988, 62 percent of masks sold were the caricature of George Bush Sr., and only 38 percent were of Michael Dukakis, who lost.

The 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore was predicted by the 57 percent of Bush masks and 43 percent of Gore masks sold.

Nick Balsamo, a psychology sophomore, and his brother Vince Balsamo, a geology freshman, are both conservatives who support Bush and think the reason more Bush masks have sold is people would rather make fun of him.

"People think Bush is more of a character. He seems so bland, but he's so corny," Nick Balsamo said.

"People think he is a joke. They want to impersonate him as a joke," Vince Balsamo said.

The brothers agreed no one is ever going to be completely happy with the person in power, and said someone will always find something wrong with the person elected.

"Anyone in authority will be made fun of. No one is ever going to be good enough (to the general public). People will find something wrong with all of them," Nick Balsamo said.