Natalie Prestia says the coffee drinkers at her Muffin Break cafe on Baylis street have a knack for taking the town’s political pulse.
“This is my third election and usually we predict the winner, so it’s quite interesting,” she says indicating the perspex predictor on the counter which points in a surprising direction.
The cafe’s “Bean Poll” invites customers to cast a coffee bean vote for their preferred party in an effort to separate the ‘Topbeans’ from the ‘Hasbeans’.
Just a day out from the election, the Greens hold an almost unassailable lead, nudging ‘Maybean’ status ahead of the Coalition at ‘Mightabean’. Other minor parties sit at ‘Wannabean’ while Labor, a dismal 4th, is relegated to ‘Hasbean’ by Wagga’s coffee pundits.
“It’s really weird; Wagga Wagga seems to be going for the Greens!” Natalie laughs.
Muffin Break has been running its Bean Poll at franchises across the country since 2007 and claims to have correctly predicted the past five election results.
National general manager Natalie Brennan says the beans never lie.
“The Bean Poll always attracts an overwhelming response from our customers, and the 100 per cent accuracy rate reinforces its role as the voice of the nation,” she says.
Natalie Prestia warns that this apparent lean to the left is not entirely down to Wagga’s latte-sipping minority.
“There are a lot of the younger ones that are ineligible to vote. They’re the ones putting beans in and they’re chucking them in the Greens,” she says.
When informed about the poll, Greens candidate for the Riverina Michael Organ was pleased and hopes it amounts to more than a hill-of-beans on Saturday.
“I think that’s reflecting the concerns people have about all the crises we’re currently facing and the head in the sand attitude of the coalition government,” he said.
“They’re not addressing the issues that the people of Australia have identified of importance; climate change, cost of living and corruption.”
Natalie agrees that politicians shouldn’t overlook the Muffin Break message.
“I think they’re not satisfied with what the major parties are doing and there’s a change happening over time. I think the politicians need to keep note.”
Bean Poll voting closes 20 May 2022. Results will be posted on Muffin Break’s Facebook Page the evening before the official election.