by Grace Cleland, junior
Well, America, the votes are in. The national decision to re-elect Barack Obama for a second presidential term took place on November 6, after much anticipation from Flint Hill students and teachers alike. The national vote in favor of the Democratic Party closely mirrored the school-wide mock election that Flint Hill’s AP Government and AP Statistics classes presented. Though President Obama emerged victorious in both elections, many students had varied diplomatic opinions, all of which contributed to contemporary political awareness and scholastic partisan conversation.
The goal of the two AP classes was to evaluate the demographics of student preference, in addition to the roots of students’ political bias. Through surveys were sent out to a small percentage of the student body, the AP Statistics class discovered that most Flint Hill students share the same political views as their parents, and inferred that parental partiality plays a major role in many students’ decisions.
Though Romney was projected as the front-runner in the pre-election statistics, Obama received 250 votes to Romney’s 160.
When asked to explain this fallacy in the prediction of the school-wide winner, senior Kendall Gibson commented, “I think the teachers voting [in the mock election] gave President Obama a good push forward in the polls!”
Despite popular belief among potentially uninformed voters, the 2012 election was not solely a competition between President Obama and Governor Romney. Other third-party candidates, namely Green Party member Jill Stein and Libertarian Party member Gary Johnson, campaigned for the national vote and received Flint Hill acknowledgement as well: 5 votes and 80 votes, respectively.
The reason for Johnson’s popularity, as many of the AP Statistics students pointed out, was primarily due to the fact that the candidate proposed the legalization of cannabis, which appealed to some students, and which others found humorous.
In addition to the inclusion of third-party candidates, students did have a write-in option, which allowed them to propose their own contender. Most of these votes (approximately 40 in total) were either ridiculous or uninformed, though they did provide entertainment for those tallying the votes. Some of the more irreverent included Big Bird and Kim Jong Il. Thankfully, these silly votes did not affect the overall numbers of the mock-election.
Senior Kyle deCamp said, “The silly votes did absolutely nothing. It was humorous, but it reflects that in an actual election, there will always be people who just don't care.”
Despite the lack of complete participation from all faculty and student body members, the mock-election provided a fairly accurate representation of Flint Hill’s political preferences. It became clear to the AP Government and Statistics classes that the decision of many Flint Hill students in the mock-election was due in part to influence from parents, social media, friends, and biased news stations, though their statistics claimed that students’ “personal beliefs” affected their preferences the most.
Wherever the roots of political inclination lie, the mock-election provided an educational opportunity to include minors in the voting process, though unofficially. It gave each student and faculty member a voice in the election, and raised cognizance of various candidates, their platforms, and their statistical position in the polls. With such a close political race ensuing on a national front, the mock-election allowed for a similar, smaller-scale competition, the result of which was equally anticipated by the students.