Kids Pick the President
Kids Pick the President is a series of campaign specials produced by the Nickelodeon TV network, organized around a mock election to determine children's choice for the President of the United States. Kids Pick the President has accurately predicted the winner of each election with the sole exception of the 2004 race.
The specials began in 1988 as part of a yearly "Kids Vote" election-related coverage, in part as a way to encourage children in Nickelodeon's audience to become engaged in the political process, and partly for comedic value.
In 2004, Nickelodeon promoted the event with interstitials throughout its regular programming, features in Nickelodeon Magazine, online activities, and a book. Both John Kerry and George W. Bush declined to appear, stating they were too busy. The results were announced by Linda Ellerbee on U-Pick Live. Kerry received 57 percent of the vote; President Bush got 43 percent. Thus far it has been the only vote in which Kids Pick the President did not correctly predict the actual election results.
In 2008, 2.2 million people participated in the event. Both major candidates participated, and filmed television commercials promoting the event. Participants were allowed to vote, without any voter eligibility or verification, on a non-partisan page of Nickelodeon's website that outlined the candidates' positions on various issues. Barack Obama received 51 percent (1,167,087 votes), and John McCain received 49 percent (1,129,945 votes). Linda Ellerbee announced the results live again in 2008.
In 2012 Obama won with 65% of the vote over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Romney declined to participate, citing scheduling constraints; instead, clips were shown from previous campaign events in which the participants' questions were addressed. In contrast, Obama invited the participants to meet him in person at the White House to answer their questions. The decision by Romney to not participate was considered by Nick News host Linda Ellerbee to be an example of his lack of "respect" for youth; the Obama campaign also responded by stating that kids "demand details", and wanted "answers on why Romney could increase their class sizes, eliminate their teacher's jobs, raise taxes on their families and slash funding for Big Bird. Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, 'The dog ate my homework' just doesn't cut it when you're running for president."
Other children's elections
The "Scholastic Election" has been conducted by Scholastic News every election year since 1940. It claims to have predicted the final election results correctly with two exceptions: Harry S. Truman's win over Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 election and John F. Kennedy's win over Richard Nixon in the 1960 election.
The "Kids Voting" election takes place in school classrooms, as part of a curriculum exercise in the American democratic process, with different programs designed for kindergarten through high school students. It is a nationwide organization made up of local affiliates. Unlike the others, which generate publicity by announcing their results shortly before the general election, the Kids Voting election takes place on the actual election day.
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- Kathryn Shattuck (2004-05-09). "A Backyard Bluesfest with Talent Front and Center". New York Times.
- . China Daily News. 2004-10-21 http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-10/21/content_384393.htm. Missing or empty
- "Feathers fly at Nickelodeon". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
- Robin Thibault (2008-10-20). "Kids Vote: Play Media". KARK News.[dead link]
- "Obama wins Scholastic kids vote election". United Press International. 2008-10-14.