In a presidential election in which most professional pollsters and D.C. politicos were — again — as wrong as sin on Sunday, anxious Americans watching the results trickle in this week might have been better served by simply asking a Canby High schooler.
The high school held its schoolwide election simulation on Tuesday, and students not only accurately predicted the winner — but came within a couple percentage points of his margin of victory.
In the exercise, students were asked to cast votes during their second-period classes — which were also assigned states and electoral college votes.
Of those who voted (the school saw about 75% turnout, according to Principal Greg Dinse), 53.1% chose former Vice President Joe Biden — who on Saturday was declared the winner of the real election after building an insurmountable lead in Pennsylvania.
While votes are still being tallied, Biden has captured about 50.7% of the national popular vote as of Sunday morning.
The high school was even more accurate in predicting the electoral college — the real decider of White House residents, according to the Constitution. Their breakdown gave 51.2% of the available electoral votes to Biden.
On the national level, several states have yet to be called, but most media outlets projected the president-elect had won 279 electoral votes (the Associated Press has also called Arizona and its 11 votes for Biden, giving him a total of 290).
Taking the percentage of only the states that all major outlets agree Biden has won would give him 51.8% of the electoral college — roughly within a half a percent of the exercise by CHS students predicted.
On the other hand, Donald Trump, the incumbent president, did not do as well in the students’ poll as he did in the national race — or with Canby’s legal voters, for that matter.
In the high school exercise, President Trump took 43.3% of the popular vote and 48.7% of electoral votes.
Libertarian Jo Jorgensen did well with the high school, collecting 3.4% of the popular vote — nearly three times better than her real performance on Tuesday night. She even received a single electoral vote, thanks to the independent-thinking voters of Maine’s Second Congressional District.
In an email to high school students and families, Principal Dinse noted that the simulation had also closely mirrored the national election in 2016, so these kids might really be onto something.
The previous week, Canby High leadership students had hosted the high school’s first “Student Town Hall,” which offered an opportunity for students to express their political opinions and concerns in an engaging and civil format, moderated by CHS social studies teacher Bob Hammitt.
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