Federal Campaign Notebook

The Polls Are Closed in Scholastic Precincts

By Alyson Klein — October 20, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

If children could vote, Barack Obama would be the next president, according to the Scholastic Presidential Election Poll for Kids. Sen. Obama got 57 percent of the vote to Sen. John McCain’s 39 percent, according to results released Oct. 14.

Nearly 250,000 students from 1st grade through 12th grade participated in the poll, which was conducted both by paper ballot and online.

Four percent of students voted for someone else. The poll had the highest percentage of write-in votes ever, with the students overlooking the major parties’ nominees to cast votes for others such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, TV host Stephen Colbert, and “my dad.”

The Youth Vote

Some 250,000 elementary and secondary school students cast ballots in the Scholastic Poll, which has predicted the winner in all but two general elections since 1940.


SOURCE: Scholastic Presidential Election Poll for Kids

There doesn’t seem to have been much of a “Sarah Palin” effect. A majority of girls voted for Sen. Obama, 57 percent to 39 percent. Sen. McCain was more competitive among boys; he took 46 percent of their vote to Mr. Obama’s 49 percent.

Even though most of the participants won’t be able to cast real ballots next month, the Obama and McCain campaigns may want to take a serious look at the results. The non-scientific Scholastic Poll has predicted the winner of the White House in almost every election since 1940. The exceptions came in 1948, when the children picked Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman, and in 1960, when they chose Richard M. Nixon over John F. Kennedy. In 2000, the Scholastic participants favored George W. Bush, who won the Electoral College but not the popular vote over Al Gore.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 22, 2008 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Biden Drops Out of Race and Endorses Kamala Harris to Lead the Democratic Ticket
The president's endorsement of Harris makes the vice president the most likely nominee for the Democrats.
3 min read
President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference July 11, 2024, on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington.
President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference July 11, 2024, on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington. He announced Sunday that he was dropping out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris as his replacement for the Democratic nomination.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal What We Know About Kamala Harris' K-12 Record, and Other Potential Biden Replacements
Harris is the frontrunner for the top of the ticket. A look at her record on K-12, along with those of other Democratic contenders.
8 min read
Vice President Kamala Harris embraces President Joe Biden after a speech on healthcare in Raleigh, N.C., March. 26, 2024. President Joe Biden dropped out of the 2024 race for the White House on Sunday, July 21, ending his bid for reelection following a disastrous debate with Donald Trump that raised doubts about his fitness for office just four months before the election.
Vice President Kamala Harris embraces President Joe Biden after a speech on health care in Raleigh, N.C., on March 26, 2024. Biden on Sunday announced he wouldn't run for reelection and endorsed Harris as his replacement.
Matt Kelley/AP
Federal Opinion The Great Project 2025 Freakout
There's nothing especially scary in the Heritage Foundation's education agenda—nor is it a reliable gauge of another Trump administration.
6 min read
Man lurking behind the American flag, suspicion concept.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Data Is the Federal Agency That Tracks School Data Losing Steam?
A new study of U.S. data agencies finds serious capacity problems at the National Center for Education Statistics.
3 min read
Illustration of data bar charts and line graphs superimposed over a school crossing sign.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty images