Students choose Obama in national mock election

David Lim

A national mock election in which upper school students participated voted to reelect President Obama, history teacher Dave Waterhouse said. Obama won both the national mock election and at Harvard-Westlake.

The Upper School was one of two schools representing California in a mock election held by Voting Opportunities for Teenagers in Every State, an organization overseen by teachers in Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts The VOTES Project, which two NMH history teachers began in 1988, has correctly predicted five of the six past presidential elections. Harvard-Westlake students voted in an online survey conducted by Waterhouse and his AP Government students for VOTES.

Of the 536 Harvard-Westlake students who participated in the week-long survey for VOTES, 68 percent voted for the Democratic ticket of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, while 26 percent voted for Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican ticket. Six percent of the vote went to candidates for the Green and Libertarian Parties.

The results were broadcast state by state on Northfield Mount Hermon’s school radio Sunday night, with additional commentary and political analysis by NMH students. Nationally, Obama won with 316 electoral votes and 28 states to Romney’s 208 votes and 22 states, the VOTES results said.

“Obviously there are a few states that are wacky,” Waterhouse said, referring to tradionally Republican states like South Carolina and Louisiana that Obama won. “There are a few anomalies because it’s not an accurate sample.”

The schools representing New Jersey could not vote due to Hurricane Sandy, so their 14 electoral votes could not be given to any candidate. Some of the schools representing New York and Pennsylvania also could not hold their elections because they were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Obama also won the popular vote, with 50.2 percent to Romney’s 41.2 percent.

“Among young people, that’s pretty accurate,” Waterhouse said, noting that kids are more likely to vote for alternative parties.

A total 54,037 votes were cast by the schools, with a 67 percent voter turnout among the students. This number is lower than the VOTES mock election four years ago, which was 74 percent, the VOTES site said, but is still higher than turnout in the real presidential elections of the last few years, according to the American Presidency Project.