If the only people voting on Tuesday were kids, Hillary Clinton would become the nation’s president. Or so say the results of Nickelodeon’s “Kids Pick the President” initiative, where young viewers are encouraged to vote for who they would choose for their leader.
And usually, the candidate chosen in this contest is the person who becomes president. “Kids Pick the President” has correctly predicted the outcome of every election but one since 1988. In 2004, kids picked John Kerry over George W. Bush, who was running for his second term.
This year, 905,928 kids (or people who said they are kids) voted online. On Saturday night, Nickelodeon announced the results: 53 percent chose Clinton, 36 percent chose Donald Trump and 11 percent chose Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
In the past, candidates from both sides of the aisle, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, have answered questions from kids and encouraged them to vote in Nickelodeon’s mock election. But there was no participation from Trump or Clinton this year. Instead, Nickelodeon created videos to educate viewers about each candidate’s history, family life and platforms. The videos were overwhelmingly positive and stayed away from controversial issues. The network told kids Trump “did a ton of cool things.” As a voiceover listed off each of Trump’s qualifications, a pint-sized actor appeared on screen to respond with awe.
He “worked in real estate” — Cool! — “Built casinos”— Wow! — “Was a TV star” — Impressive!
Clinton also “did a ton of cool things,” the video said, including being first lady, a senator and secretary of state, “and she even won a Grammy!” (The recording of her audiobook, “It Takes a Village,” earned the trophy in 1997.)
In the video explaining the third-party candidate Gary Johnson, Nickelodeon didn’t describe Johnson’s background or any of his policy views. The clip simply explained what it takes to be eligible to run for president and what a third-party candidate is. So it’s significant that Johnson — who was polling at four percent in the latest Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll — pulled 11 percent of the kids’ vote.
On Wednesday, Nickelodeon will know if it can claim another accurate prediction by kids. Until then, the network is encouraging viewers to engage in democracy with voting-themed episodes of its popular shows, including “Henry Danger” and “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.” And online, kids can scroll through questions for the next president that have been submitted by their peers. The queries provide useful insight into what the country is thinking in the final days before the election:
“Do you care about kids?”
“What do you think about wars?”
“What are you going to do about poverty?”
“Are you really gonna help the country?”
Or better yet, the questions might assure you that even in the midst of this absurd election, kids are still being kids:
“Does the president go shopping for toys and food?”
“Are you scared of spiders?”
“Would you abolish homework?
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the percentage of the vote won by Donald Trump in “Kids Pick the President.” It has been updated.