Obama wins NMH nationwide mock election
submitted photo The VOTES Project at Northfield Mount Hermon School, Sunday. High school students across the nation voted in NMH's Votes Project 2012. Purchase photo reprints »
GILL — President Barack Obama claimed a decisive 316-208 electoral victory Sunday — in a nationwide high school mock election that has predicted the winner during five of the last six presidential elections.
The Voting Opportunities for Teenagers in Every State (VOTES) project — created and run by Northfield Mount Hermon School since 1988 — collected 54,037 votes from 123 public and private high schools across 49 states and Washington D.C. The results were announced Sunday night by NMH students.
All four participating Massachusetts schools — including Pioneer Valley Regional High School and NMH — voted for Obama over Republican challenger and former Gov. Mitt Romney.
The president took about 75 percent of the vote at Pioneer, and nearly 66 percent at NMH. Green Party candidate Jill Stein almost came in second at NMH, falling just 24 votes short of Romney.
Hurricane Sandy forced five schools, including two in New Jersey, to cancel their planned elections last week. New Jersey’s 14 electoral votes were not awarded to either of the presidential candidates.
Obama won 28 states including the swing states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia. He also claimed four states that are predicted to go to Romney on Tuesday: Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina.
Romney won 22 states, including the contested states of Colorado, Florida and North Carolina.
And in the popular vote count, Obama collected 50.2 percent of the vote — which was 9 percent higher and nearly 5,000 more votes than his opponent.
Third-party candidates and write-ins accounted for the rest of the vote.
Since its creation in 1988, the VOTES project has correctly predicted five of six elections. In 2004, students voted for Democrat challenger John Kerry, but incumbent George W. Bush was re-elected.
Students weigh in on issues
As a part of the project’s general theme to raise political awareness among teenagers, about 23,500 students from 62 schools also answered a short survey of national issues.
When asked if the federal government should be responsible for ensuring that all Americans have health care coverage, 57 percent answered “yes.”
In a question that asked students if they would support an amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman, 61 percent said ‘‘no.”
Two-thirds of the students said they did not support a Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations, unions and “Super PACs” to spend as much money as they wanted to support candidates.
In the most tightly contested question, 51 percent said they did not want the Keystone pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast to move forward.
When asked the best way to reduce the federal budget deficit, 47 percent answered to reduce taxes while also cutting spending. The other two answers — raising taxes for the wealthy and combining tax increases with spending cuts — both received about a quarter of the vote.
And the answers for the best way for the United States to prevent the development of nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea were divided: 35 percent said positive incentives, 26 percent said U.S. diplomacy, 20 percent said U.S.-led military action and 19 percent said economic sanctions.
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