Students from more than 150 schools in Maine cast ballots Thursday in a
statewide mock election. Organizers, including officials from the Maine
Secretary of State's Office, said the election is an important lesson for
students, and helps democracy in the state. The students said they enjoyed the
process. "It's a lot of fun," said Nicole Labbe, an eighth-grade student and
Westbrook Middle School. "I think it's definitely going to help prepare the kids
for when they have to actually vote."
I had a pre-election post in October 2008 about how Maine students' mock elections are pretty accurate forecasts of real election results. Indeed, considering the 2008 election results into my previously-crunched numbers (again, see my October 2008 post), Maine students have not only picked the eventual winner in 83% of the presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial races in which there's been a statewide mock vote (15 of 18), but they have also been within 5 percentage points of the winner's eventual vote total 80% of the time (12 of the 15 races they picked correctly).
In 2008, 58% of actual Maine voters voted for then-Sen. Barack Obama, whereas 61% of Maine students did. Sixty-one percent of actual voters voted for Sen. Susan Collins, compared to 58% of students; and 67% of actual voters chose Rep. Michael Michaud, compared to 62% of student voters. The outlier in 2008 was Chellie Pingree, who captured 55% of the actual vote, despite narrowly losing the student vote to her opponent, Charlie Summers.
The irony is that the one candidate whose campaign touted this Web site's look at the mock elections was, you guessed it, Charlie Summers.
- John C.L. Morgan