a group of men's faces

Americans are unhappy with their government. More Americans disapprove than approve of the job President Obama is doing, while Congress’s approval ratings sank below 10% in the wake of the government shutdown. Google autocompletes the phrase “Congress less popular than…” with cockroaches, North Korea, dog poop, communism, and herpes. 

In honor of All Hallow’s Eve, Priceonomics suggests another way to measure Americans’ esteem for their elected officials: let the market decide. In particular, the market for politician Halloween costumes.

chart, bar chart

Data Source: CostumeCraze.com

The above data comes from major online costume retailer CostumeCraze.com. Although CostumeCraze did not respond to requests for sales data, we can chart prices and discounts. (Jennifer Boylan observes in the New York Times that sales of politician costumes are down this year – although that may have more to do with the election cycle than evaluations of politician performance.) We included every politician who had a mask available on the site, ignoring deluxe and child size masks. We also averaged the price for any politician with multiple masks available.  

Unfortunately CostumeCraze also did not respond to our questions about their pricing strategy. So just like with election results, political polls, and jobs reports, members of each ideological bent can interpret the data to fit their beliefs. 

Three republican presidents occupy the top spots in terms of price, and George W Bush is the only politician whose mask is not yet offered at a discount. Does that mean that George W Bush is a quality product? Or have the prices of Bush and Romney masks stayed high because they remain as popular as the butt of jokes as Richard Nixon?

Similarly, Hilary Clinton’s mask has the highest original price but the steepest discount. Is she as overrated as right leaning media channels would charge? Or is it simply a reflection of her absence from the national stage since stepping down as the Secretary of State?

And finally, are the donkey (democrat) and elephant (republican) masks the same price because their parties command such equal claims on Americans’ allegiance/disdain? Or is it simply an admirable attempt by CostumeCraze to respect the separation between costume store and state?

Happy Halloween.

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