WASHINGTON – If students could vote, President Barack Obama would serve a second term, according to a recent mock election held by Scholastic Student Vote.
Of the 250,000 kids under the age of 18 who cast ballots, 51 percent picked Obama while 45 percent voted for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“The economy, as it is for most people, is the top issue in the election and our [students] seem to have concluded that Obama is best for them,” says Suzanne McCabe, editor-at-large of Scholastic Magazine.
A majority of would-be voters in four key swing states – Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Ohio – chose Obama, but 50 percent of Virginia voters preferred Romney. Forty-seven percent in Virginia picked Obama.
In D.C., the president got 63 percent of the vote compared to Romney’s 33 percent. In Maryland, 60 percent of students picked Obama and 37 percent chose Romney.
“Young people with all of the social networking – many were tweeting after the debates – a lot of them are much more engaged than we realize,” McCabe says.
Students from both public and private schools across the nation participated in the election. They either cast paper ballots in classrooms or voted online.
Aside from the economy, voters also cited health care and the war in Afghanistan as their top issues.
“They see themselves as the future of this country,” McCabe says. “They are concerned about paying for college and getting good jobs.”
Scholastic has been holding these mock elections every four years since 1940. Their results have mirrored the outcome of the actual election each time except on two occasions, McCabe says. In 1940, students voted for Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman, and in 1960, they picked Richard Nixon over John F. Kennedy.
McCabe isn’t surprised the mock election is a kind of bellwether.
“They’ve been speaking with their peers, they’ve been learning about the election in their classrooms and many, of course, talk with their parents and possibly echo their parents’ views,” she says.
In New York, kids are getting ready for the presidential election by encouraging voters to hit the polls in November. One group of Harlem fourth-graders did so to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer hit, “Call Me Maybe.” Watch the video below: