Two national polls of American children have markedly different results this year, one showing President Bush a clear winner, and the other predicting an even bigger win for Sen. John Kerry.
Interestingly, both unscientific surveys proclaim historical accuracy in presidential prognostications.
Ayda Suberoglu, 12, teaches a 4th-grader how to vote for president online at Rockefeller Center in New York (photo: Scholastic.com).
In the first poll, conducted by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing and media company, more than half a million students in first through eighth grades from across the U.S. participated. They voted online and through mail-in paper ballots found in many of Scholastic’s classroom magazines.
“George W. Bush won the kids’ election poll with 52 percent of the vote,” announced Scholastic student reporter David Rush.
Kerry collected 47 percent, with one percent going for other candidates. A few reportedly wrote in “mom” as their choice for president.
Scholastic has been conducting similar polls since 1940, with predictions only wrong in two close elections: 1948 when students chose Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman, and 1960, predicting Richard Nixon would beat John Kennedy.
Meanwhile, the second poll with a large sampling shows Kerry the victor, defeating Bush by a margin of 57 to 43 percent.
Nickelodeon TV’s “Kids’ Vote” had nearly 400,000 children participate in online voting.
The Viacom-owned network says children in its poll have correctly predicted the winner of the general elections for the last four U.S. presidential campaigns. Its first poll was in 1988. Four years ago, Bush was predicted the winner over Vice President Al Gore with 55 percent of the vote.
Former NBC newscaster Linda Ellerbee hosted a Nick News program last night announcing Kerry as this year’s winner.
“Kids aren’t dumb, they’re just younger and shorter,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “In fact, last election, a boy came up to me and said, ‘We picked George Bush to win, and he didn’t really win. Al Gore won the popular vote, so we were kinda wrong.’ Quite an observation.”
In addition to the national polls, local schools across America have been holding their own mini-elections, with students evoking strong stances for both candidates.
Fourth-graders in Kosciusko and Attala County, Miss., classrooms were recently asked their opinions.
Abortion was the key factor for Bush supporter Autumn Lewis, who told the Star-Herald, “I don’t want a president who would kill children. That would end the world.”
Dylan Pope told the paper he picked Kerry because “he’ll make peace and let us do anything we want.”
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