Will Sox, Stocks Tip Election Scales?

Republicans are unperturbed by Kerry's strategic backing of the Packers and the Red Sox.

"Considering John Kerry said his favorite Red Sox [player] of all time was Eddie Yost, who never played for the Red Sox, said [Packers' stadium] Lambeau Field was Lambert Field, and said how much he loves Ohio State football in Michigan, we have no problems with John Kerry making sports statements or predictions," Jones says.

Kerry has the advantage of rooting for the team from Wisconsin -- a potential swing state -- where he also is backed by some local data: According to an online listing through this morning, Kerry led a vote between pumpkins depicting the candidates' faces by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin, though the vote runs through the end of the month.

"If pumpkins and Packers are the keys to the White House, we're for both of them," Meehan says.

In 2000, Bush won similar pumpkin votes online and at Altenburg's Country Gardens in Grand Rapids, Wis. But Republicans refuse to be spooked by the jack-o-lantern factor this time.

"I don't want to cast any doubt on the scientific validity of the Wisconsin pumpkin poll, but the fact that the president won the pumpkin poll in 2000 but didn't carry Wisconsin bodes well for the president this year," Jones says.

Be Afraid?

There are scary signs for Kerry, too, including a deficit in the Halloween mask tally, which allegedly has predicted the presidency in every election since 1988. Through this morning, the Web site for buycostumes.com said Bush masks were outselling Kerry masks 55 percent to 45 percent.

In fact, aside from pumpkins, funny-face indicators have been looking good for Bush since early August. Back then, baseball fans at various minor league ballgames chose the Bush bobblehead doll over the Kerry version, 53 percent to 47 percent, in four of the seven states surveyed -- Florida, South Carolina, New York and South Dakota. Majorities in Minnesota, Massachusetts and Connecticut ballparks picked Kerry.

Why do people prefer Bush's face? Maybe it's the hair that frames it. Bush wins there, too, according to a survey by the Wahl Clipper Corp. Although Kerry once boasted of the Democratic ticket, "We've got better hair" -- and reporters sometimes jokingly refer to his campaign plane as "Hair Force One" -- 51 percent surveyed thought Bush had better hair, compared to 30 percent for Kerry.

"Every elected president since the beginning of the television era, which is since 1952, has been the one with the better head of hair," says Dr. Gary Hitzig, a New York hair restoration surgeon. "If Kerry didn't have hair … it would be the Edwards-Kerry ticket."

Hitzig initially couldn't pick between Bush and Kerry, but now picks Bush "by a hair," because he has the can-do hairdo for terror fighting.

"Bush's hair is more rugged," he says. "I think America needs rugged. They want somebody with a stronger appearance."

Kerry is several inches taller than Bush, which some think offers a similar advantage. But height did not work for Al Gore in 2000. Perhaps sometimes that's just how the cookie crumbles.

This year's cookie seems to crumble for Bush. Two-thirds of Family Circle magazine readers voted for Laura Bush's oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies over Teresa Heinz Kerry's pumpkin spice cookies. The three prior winners saw their husbands win the White House, but this time Kerry may have an out.

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