By Chelsea Karnash
NEW JERSEY (CBS) – A cockroach might know more about the outcome of the 2012 Presidential race than some political analysts.
Every four years, the New Jersey Pest Management Association pits two Madagascar hissing cockroaches against each other in a race for the White House. The bugs “race” on a three foot track, decked out in pop-up caricatures of the candidate they represent.
This year—the 15th “presidential cockroach derby”—the Romney roach had a decisive win over Obama’s insect. What does that mean for the President?
According to Leonard Douglen, the association’s executive director, the roach races have an 84% prediction rate. Back in 2008, Obama’s bug beat McCain’s, and in the Bush v. Gore race, the Gore roach won “by barely an antennae’s length.” Unsurprisingly, that race was mired in controversy—much like its real-life counterpart.
So just how did the creepy-crawly tradition get started? Douglen can’t recall the exact circumstances, but does admit it’s an advertising “gimmick” that’s meant to draw attention to the work that pest control professionals do on a daily basis.
Work, of course, that consists of eradicating pests much like little Romney and Obama roach. But unlike their more commonly found counterparts, Douglen explains, these racing roaches are spared a fate at the hands of traditional pest control methods. They’re Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and they’re not indigenous to the area. After the race, the roaches will head back to the pest control firm that owns them, where they’ll continue to be used in routine demonstrations.
To watch the cockroach race, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICPx9sXsFk0