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We asked 405 kids who they would vote for in the presidential election if they could.

We held a mock presidential election with kids. Here's who won.


We held a mock presidential election with kids. Here's who won.

WATCH  | Circa asked 405 fifth-and sixth-grade students nationwide who they would vote for in the 2016 presidential election, and why.

Surprising results

Kids are pretty smart.  And when it comes to a presidential race as nasty and vicious as this one, everyone -- even the youngest generation -- has a right to their opinion.

We asked over 400 fifth and sixth graders who they would vote for to be the next leader of the free world, and they came up with some surprising results. According to our survey, 78 percent of respondents picked Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over her Republican rival Donald Trump, who got just 8 percent. 

Clinton would 'make America great again'

But pay close attention to the "why."

Many answers mentioned that if elected,  Clinton would be the first female president or said that she would be fair.  One respondent said, "She would make America great again," borrowing from Trump's slogan.    

Of the Trump supporters, some mentioned that he would keep America safe  would build a wall. And, yes, there were a few responses like,  "my parents" or "my teachers" told me.

Our methodology

Using a highly unscientific Google Form survey, Circa polled fifth and sixth graders in the following cities or states:
  • Nebraska
  • Dallas
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Virginia
  • South Carolina
  • Washington, D.C.

How we got the kids

We reached out to more than 25 teachers and 50 schools and school districts nationwide between Sept. 14 and Oct. 6. Only about 10 teachers got back to us.

They filled out the form anonymously, and the only identifying information they gave us was their school name, their age, their race/ethnicity and their grade.

They were asked two questions: Who would you vote for if you could? Why?

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(Photo: Adam Fleishmann)

Student voters are  just like us. 

Like any voter, these students value their privacy at the polls.

About the kids surveyed

  • 205 are fifth graders, 200 are sixth graders

  • 29% Hispanic; 24% White or Caucasian; 9% Asian; 12% Black or African-American

  • 44% are 10 years old; 44% are 11; the rest are 9, 12 or 13
  • They come from both private and public schools in the country

We also interviewed some of the kids in person, either at Capital City Public Charter School or at the Waterford Fair in Waterford, Virginia.
How to interpret the results

We talked to a few pollsters about the best way to present the results, and while our group wasn't large enough to make it a scientific poll, it asked important questions.

"What you guys did with this," said Justin Wallin of Probolsky Research, "is something particularly good. You went further than [just which candidate got the most votes]. You asked why. And motivation is really the value of this project, because it gives you a mini focus group essentially."

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 1.02.43 PM.png
(Photo: Adam Fleishmann)

This is the paper ballot some students in D.C. filled out for our shoot. Everyone else voted online via an anonymous Google Form.

The results

Ok, so if it were up to this randomly selected group of 400 kids, Hillary Clinton would be the undisputed winner. Here's the popular vote broken down:

  • 78 % Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

  • 8% Donald Trump and Mike Pence

  • 2% Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka

  • 8% Other

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Hillary Clinton was the winner for these 405 fifth and sixth graders

The results, in pie form!

How they voted by region

New Yorkers were some of Hillary Clinton's biggest supporters, while Nebraskans were some of Trump's most vehement supporters.

You can see the breakdown in the gallery above.

How they voted by race

Students who self-identified as black were Clinton's biggest backers. Those who identified as white or Caucasian were some of Trump's biggest supporters.

You can see the full breakdown in the gallery above.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.47.12 AM.png

How they voted by grade

Both grades were heavy supporters of Hillary Clinton and fans of writing in Bernie Sanders as a candidate.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.47.23 AM.png

While Jill Stein won the ballots of some fifth graders, Bernie Sanders got more votes than her and Donald Trump  with the sixth graders.

How kids vote

The 26th Amendment prohibits kids from voting, but that doesn't mean they don't have political opinions or affiliations.

Wallin from Probolsky Research says polling kids is pretty uncharted territory because kids are so difficult to get access to. He adds that kids likely develop their political opinions at the dinner table, where they are "influenced by dinner table conversations."

There are other surveys

Scholastic News recently polled 153,000 K-12 kids across the country, and Clinton drew 52 percent of the vote. Trump drew 35 percent.

Our results were a little more skewed, due to our small sample size. Hillary Clinton received 79 percent of the student vote. Trump got 7 percent.

Since 1940, the outcome of the student vote has mirrored the results of every presidential election, except the 1948 Truman vs. Dewey election.

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Here are some of the kids' responses to when asked why they voted the way they did. 

Why kids vote the way they do

Like Wallin said, one of the most interesting parts of Circa's poll was asking "why?" The students' answers to why they voted for a candidate ranged from:

"Because Obama has a life, For real he is a good president and should stay" to "because she will be the first girl president."

Summarizing the "whys" wouldn't do them justice, so we put together this spreadsheet for you to read them yourself.

Do you think these kids got it right?

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