President Bush may wish that the youngest Americans had the right to vote this year.
Several mock elections and polls that included elementary students gave Bush the lead over Gov. Bill Clinton.
The Weekly Reader, a 64-year-old children's newsweekly, publishes a quadrennial presidential poll. The results have coincided with the national election for 36 years. This year, 600,000 students cast votes, with a majority for Bush. The president won 55 percent of the vote; Clinton garnered 39 percent.
In kindergarten-through-fourth-grade, Bush was a clear winner. But the older students favored Clinton.
High-school and middle-school readers of Scholastic classroom magazines voted for Clinton over Bush by a margin of 51 percent to 32 percent.
But in the elementary grades, the Scholastic Student Vote favored Bush 60 percent to 40 percent.
"The support for President George Bush among younger students may be due to his higher name recognition as president," says Ernest Fleishman, director of education for Scholastic.
All the youth vote is not in, however. About a million kids in 11 states will be joining their parents at the polls tomorrow as part of Kids Voting USA.The students will cast mock ballots at actual polling sites.
Kids Voting is based in Tempe, Ariz., and was founded four years ago by three couples who learned of a similar program in Costa Rica, where the voter turnout rate is 90 percent.
Kids Voting targets grades K-12 and offers schools curriculum material related to the election.
The project began in Arizona in 1988 and now includes Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Tennessee.