Obama leads statewide student mock vote

Preliminary results of the 2008 MyVote California student mock election — involving more than 240,000 students from 450 middle and high schools across the state — show Barack Obama and John McCain are the picks of the next generation of voters.

Launched in November by Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, MyVote California is a hands-on civic engagement project for high school students that culminated in the statewide mock election, held this week.

bowen.gif“The MyVote mock election wasn’t just about taking the political pulse of California students; it was about engaging them in our democracy,” Bowen said in a news release. “I wanted to see how students would feel about issues that would directly affect their lives and their wallets, which is why MyVote included three simulated ballot initiatives dealing with issues that legislators are actually grappling with today.”

Students received one ballot that listed all 48 of the candidates certified for this election; the students then chose only one candidate. Students had the option of voting for a candidate in any of the state’s six recognized political parties, and apparently tilted heavily toward the Democratic side.

Barack Obama got 35.1 percent of the total presidential vote (27,845 votes, which is 55.6 percent of those who voted Democratic); Hillary Clinton got 22.5 percent of the total (17,813, or 35.6 percent of Democratic voters); and John Edwards got 3.7 percent of the total (2,945, or 5.9 percent of the Democratic voters).

John McCain got 4.8 percent of the total vote (3,773 votes, or 29.9 percent of those voting Republican); Mike Huckabee got 3.6 percent of the total (2,822 votes, or 20.1 percent of the Republican voters); and Rudy Giuliani got 3.0 percent of the total (2,345 votes, or 15.2 percent of the Republican voters).

The first ballot measure asked, “Should the registration fee that every car or truck owner is required to pay each year be based, in part, on the amount of pollution the vehicle emits?” The results: 45 percent (28,341) said yes, while 55 percent (34,665) said no.

The second ballot measure asked, “Should every eligible citizen be required to vote?” The results: 40.4 percent (25,232) said yes, while 59.6 percent (37,204) said no.

And the third ballot measure asked, “Should people who use e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging and the social networks to bully or harass others be allowed to do so as part of their constitutionally protected right to free speech?” The results: 41.4 percent (26,474) said yes, while 58.6 percent (37,529) said no.

“Some California high school seniors will cast their first ballots next week and many more students will become voters by the November general election,” Bowen said. “The MyVote mock election gives the next generation of California voters hands-on exposure to our democracy, and I hope they’re inspired to make voting the habit of a lifetime.’’

These preliminary results are based on returns from 280 of the 450 schools participating in MyVote. Complete Mock Election results are available on the Secretary of State’s MyVote California Web site, and will be updated as schools report their results.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Eduardo P. Fernandez

    I am supporting John McCain out of sheer conviction. I am not a part of his campaign, and have no vested interest in him being elected. I just simply think he is the right person to lead this country. He is far from being the perfect candidate, but he is the best we have.

    John McCain is a true American Hero who put his life on the line, and stood by his comrades in arms in Viet Nam, one of the few real patriots one has the chance to meet nowadays; no matter what any smear campaign might come up with. With his vast military experience, he is prepared to become Commander-in-Chief of our troops in the ongoing war on terror. In Iraq, he was the first one to see the potential problems that would come up as a result of a poorly planned post-war occupation and rebuilding of the country, and he got a lot of criticism for what many saw as score settling and disloyalty towards President Bush. Last year, he was again among the first to forecast the success of the surge in Baghdad, and his support of the President’s decision was then deemed unpopular as well. From November of this year on, he will be capable of seizing the opportunities that will lead us to victory as they come, encouraging the military to do their job, free from the excessive interference of our Legislative branch of government; while making the right choices to increase our nation’s security. Democrats would fold our tents, embolden our enemies, throw the region into instability, and increase the risks faced on our home soil, while other less experienced, non military men from the GOP _who sometimes also happen to have a rather careless attitude towards the use of force, in contrast with figures like Ike, who was especially sensitive to the burden a war poses on any statesman’s shoulders, but who would never shy from it for the sake of defending America, democracy and our values_, might simply take the wrong path in the middle of a volatile situation. To concede defeat now by pulling out, as Democrats are so tempted to do, would strengthen al Qaeda, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, do away with the tenuous political balance that seems to have just started taking shape in Iraq, unleash a full scale civil war there that could lead to genocide, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions. Not to mention the combined effect of all this on the world’s economy…

    When it comes to our economy, John McCain has put together a simple, yet attractive plan to revive it. It includes reducing Corporate Tax rates from 35% to 25%, so as to create a low tax business environment (another advantage that China and India have had upon us up to this point), the same one this country has had during its periods of higher growth. These cut would also allow the creation of new jobs, while having a positive impact on wages, which would tend to go somewhat up. A first year deduction or “Expensing” of Equipment and Technology investments would boost capital expenditures and reward investments in cutting edge technologies. Extra Tax credits would be destined to encourage R&D, and an overall simplification of the Tax code and permitting processes will do much good throughout the whole economy. Taxes would be reduced for the middle class, which has been the most hardly hit, particularly the Alternative Minimum Tax, which McCain has promised to repeal. He has also committed himself to make President Bush’s income and investment tax cuts permanent, make it harder for Democrats to raise taxes, keep current low taxes on dividends and capital gains _to promote saving and investments_, ban Internet Taxes, ban New Cell phone taxes, reform and make permanent the R&D tax credit, etc. In order to make all of these tax cuts, and keep the existing ones responsibly, John McCain has promised to eliminate wasteful spending, Pork-barreling and earmarking _and his congressional record is good ground to believe this is more than an electoral promise_, eliminating broken government programs that do not provide essential services, and trimming the fat throughout the whole federal system. (The poor response of FEMA during the aftermath of Katrina was a clear example of the state of disarray in which many government branches have found themselves. Hopefully it will not take another crisis of such a magnitude to reveal our remaining shortcomings). McCain’s proposed healthcare reform would also lower Medicare Health premiums for senior citizens. There are no silver bullets that are going to make the current recession go away overnight, but all of his proposals sound like just plain common sense, and we, as a nation, could make very good use of it. Those who criticize McCain’s lack of “economical expertise”, forget that neither Winston Churchill nor Ronald Reagan was an Economist or a CEO, and I can not think of better leaders…

    Regarding the availability of our nation’s healthcare system to the millions of Americans without it, and the heavy financial impact of the current policy choices for the middle class, John Mc Cain has offered a road to reform that does not lead through Washington and a hugely expensive, bureaucratic, government-controlled system, but that rather encourages Insurance companies to offer more affordable policy options for as many Americans as possible, leveraging the innovation and cost-effectiveness of our nation’s firms to put an end to existing rigid, unfriendly bureaucracies. He has promised to build a national market where insurance is more available, portable, and accessible across state lines; in which patients’ rights are respected and their information under their control; and one in which people may save more in tax-exempt Health Savings Accounts. He will assist those who need help in getting private insurance.

    John McCain is also committed to provide incentives for a national market – including the reimportation of pharmaceuticals – that offer greater transparency about effective patient care, options for preventative care and therapies, and prices so that competition makes it easier for families to navigate toward better care at lower cost. He has promised to demand reform to medical malpractice laws to curb abusive lawsuits that squeeze doctors, prevent innovation, and drive up the cost of health care. We need more transparency of prices and quality measures so that patients can make informed choices; removing some of the decision power from bureaucrats, and returning it to physicians and patients.

    A true conservative, McCain is on the right side of the abortion debate. As all of us, he has clearly stated time and time again that the Roe vs. Wade decision is simply wrong. As a president, he has promised to select nominee justices to the US Supreme Court who understand that courts should not legislate from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat, thus leaving the door open for the pro-life movement to effectively cancel out the strides of the liberal agenda and the culture of death in the last thirty years. President McCain could also foster a well thought out system that would educate teenagers and support young mothers in difficult times, reinforcing faith-based, community initiatives that already provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need, while also reducing the red tape to allow more adoptions to take place. He has also strongly opposed stem cell research when it involves the destruction of human life for that purpose.

    John McCain understands that Family represents the inner most core of our Judeo-Christian, Western Civilization, and as such, must be protected. He has publicly stated that he considers the institution of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, exclusively. That is not only the way God has set it to be, but the only one possible for biological procreation, and the setting in which the clearly defined roles of a father and a mother play themselves out to shape the psyche and the values of our children. Healthy families are essential to shape communities. President McCain would make everything at hand to make sure that where state and local governments do act to preserve the traditional family, the Courts would not overstep their authority and thwart the Constitutional right of the people to decide this question.

    At the same time, John McCain has a long and consistent record of independent thinking, of not pandering to special interests, not modifying his public discourse or his actions depending on the latest poll and of frequent straight-talking, of telling people the truth, and not what they want to hear. I have witnessed him state in Michigan how he strongly felt about securing the borders of America to preempt illegal immigration, but how he could also not tell a service man who had been risking his life in Iraq for our country, that his mother back home should be deported. That was far from a being an answer that would get him any additional support or sympathies there, but was the honorable thing to say out loud. Honesty is a rare commodity these days, and we should give it its fair share of value.

    His Congressional vote track is a clean one, and he has been the driving force behind controversial pieces of legislation that were far from being the most popular, but that were the right thing to do, which speaks a lot about the man. The most prominent examples of this are the McCain-Feingold Act for Campaign Finance Reform of 2002, and the unsuccessful McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. The latter failed to garner the necessary votes and became victim of cloture on the Senate floor; however, it showed not only McCain’s push on the right direction to solve a difficult problem, but his capacity to cross the aisle and set up a constructive bipartisan collaboration with no less than such a Democrat stalwart as Ted Kennedy. A little bit of that is very necessary to help rebuild not only confidence in government, but the future of our country. Besides, all those who are quick to denounce McCain’s “soft” position on immigration, forget that that was precisely the same tough, yet compassionate approach President Bush was advocating for, when he urged time and time again the Senate for it to pass the McCain-Kennedy immigration overhaul; and I can not think of anyone saying in his right mind that Bush has a “liberal agenda”.

    John McCain is a true conservative, with strong values that run deeper than last-minute ideological demagoguery.

    Last, but not least, John McCain is the most presidential of the Republican candidates, the only one who can build a broader base of support throughout our society. His appeal comes not just from the facts above, from the common sense policies that he proposes: it comes from the heart. Regardless of whether one agrees or not with his views and policies, and to what extent, it is always easy to recognize a decent man in his words and actions. The strong backing he has received from a wide array of Conservative Republicans, Evangelicals, Military personnel, Independents, young people and other voter sectors in the caucuses and primaries held up to now, particularly in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and the sympathies he may even collect from some conservative Democrats, are a clear indication of how viable he is as a winning presidential contender. Rudy Giuliani’s and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endorsements have joined those of Lindsay Graham’s and many other conservatives.He is getting an edge in California, a state whose delegates are fundamental not just for the primaries, but, more importantly, for the general election. Only John McCain can spare us from “Billary”, and may also defeat Barack Obama: no other GOP nominee stands a chance. Democrats know it, and they are crossing fingers so that John McCain does not get nominated. It would be their worst nightmare come true, at least in what refers to their campaign opponent.

    That is why I am respectfully asking you for your support. Understandably, McCain does not have the deep pockets of say, Mitt Romney. If you are a Republican, you are entirely free to vote for the candidate of your choice, the one you see fit. If that happens to be John McCain already, then you most likely know most or everything of what you just read. If you have not made up your mind yet… well, I can not impose my views and opinions on anybody (Thank God), but I full-heartedly encourage you to give John Mc Cain a closer look and vote for him. I think he is going to be a very good president. There is no second Ronnie, but there is something “Reaganesque” in the way Mc Cain holds his convictions.