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In Mock Votes, Students Give Clinton Solid Victory

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As he did among grown-ups, President Clinton scored a solid victory over Republican challenger Bob Dole in several nationwide mock elections that allowed schoolchildren to weigh in on the presidential race.

In the largest such program, nearly 5.7 million students cast votes at schools and other polling sites as part of the National Student/Parent Mock Election, up from about 5 million in 1992. Fifty-four percent of the students voted for Mr. Clinton, while 32 percent favored Mr. Dole. Texas billionaire Ross Perot received 10 percent of the votes.

Support for the president among the youngsters exceeded that of actual voters overall. In the popular-vote tally, Mr. Clinton received 49 percent, Mr. Dole 41 percent, and Mr. Perot 8 percent.

Student voters also ranked the importance of national issues and suggested the best ways to deal with them.

They put crime at the top of the list, urging political leaders to spend more money on anti-poverty and anti-drug programs. The economy, the environment, health care, and education, in that order, followed in the rankings.

In several other national student polls, Mr. Clinton also came out ahead of Mr. Dole.

More than 1 million students nationwide cast mock ballots at official polling sites as part of the the Kids Voting USA program, based in Tempe, Ariz. Though precise results weren't available, Mr. Clinton received a majority of the votes, while about 35 percent of the students voted for Mr. Dole.

On-Line Victory

At Payne Elementary School in the District of Columbia, which participated in the program, Mr. Clinton's wide margin of victory mirrored the results among registered voters in the nation's capital. More than 85 percent of the 400 students in the K-6 school voted for Mr. Clinton, said Barbara Maxton, a 4th grade teacher and the program's coordinator.

In Weekly Reader magazine's survey, 58 percent of 650,000 K-12 students voted for Mr. Clinton and 34 percent supported Mr. Dole.

Mr. Clinton also carried the day in NetVote '96, an Internet-based voter-registration and education program.

Almost 900 students at 128 high schools cast ballots in the program sponsored by MCI Telecommunications Inc. and Rock the Vote, a music-industry effort to encourage young voters. NetVote '96 also helped 43,000 people apply for voter registration on-line.

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