SARASOTA - In the race for president, could the Electoral College come down to the electoral cookie? To see how things will go in the voting booths, should we look inside a bakery?
"The retail bakery association has done this since 1992 and accurately predicted the winner," says Laurie Moretti, co-owner of Paisano's Italian Bakery in Sarasota, of cookies sold bearing the likenesses of presidential candidates around the country.
Her bakery began baking and selling election-themed cookies this year. As of Wednesday morning, Obama cookies led Romney cookies 140-116, but Moretti says the results are skewed because a single Democratic supporter came in one day and bought 35 cookies. Nationwide, she says that Obama leads 52-48% among the 60-70 bakeries that participate.
"They look too good to eat," says one customer. Moretti says that the cookies begin as simple sugar cookies. They add images of caricatures printed with edible ink on image paper that's basically hardened icing.
Moretti says the cookies have helped the bottom line, but that they have also worked as a conversation starter. "It gives us a chance to talk to our customers, get to know them better," she says.
The store itself has stayed neutral, with equal displays for both candidates' cookies. Asked if she has a favorite in the swing state's close race, Moretti says that stays as secret as a favorite recipe. "I do have a preference, absolutely," she says. "Am I telling you? No."