President Jimmy Carter won a resounding reelection victory this week, trouncing Republican Ronald Reagan by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Independent John Anderson came in a distant third.
Or so went election day at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria.
While Carter's vote margin at Patrick Henry could be termed a landslide -- he received 223 votes to Reagan's 100 and Anderson's 37 -- a recent poll indicates it may be the president's only victory in Northern Virginia.
The poll, conducted by political analyst Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, shows Reagan leading Carter in Northern Virginia by 50 percent to 26 percent, with 8.5 percent for Anderson and 13.5 percent undecided.
"It's a vote that surprised a lot of people in the building," said Vice Principal Shirley Urquia, who organized the mock election. "If we had been asked to make a bet, a majority of adults in the building would have given the election to Reagan."
Urquia said the pollsters might take heed from the 387 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders who voted. In 1976, children from the Patrick Henry area -- who attended Stonewall Jackson before it closed two years ago -- again gave the election to Carter, while their adult counterparts in Virginia went with Gerald Ford. History tells the rest of the story.
The vote marked the end of a month-long campaign at Patrick Henry, which included trips to actual campaign offices, political speeches by students, mock voter registration and heated debates in the poster-strewn hallways. Twenty percent of the eligible students opted not to vote.
In the final tally at Patrick Henry, Citizens Party candidate Barry Commoner chalked up 15 votes; Socialist Workers candidate Clifton DeBerry received two votes and Libertarian Ed Clarke received no votes. On the official ballot that Virginia voters will receive Tuesday, Commoner, DeBerry and Clarke are listed as independents.