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Friday, April 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 53.0° F  A Few Clouds
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ISTHMUS PARENTS

Mama Madison: Kids call the election
It's Obama all the way, according to a NewsCurrents poll


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My kids assure me that if they cross their eyes and someone hits them on the back, their eyes will not stay that way. They claim no swimmer has ever drowned from not waiting a full hour after eating to go back in the water. And it is highly unlikely, they tell me, that the gum they swallowed on Halloween, or even the gum they swallowed on Halloween seven years ago, is still rotting in their stomachs.

I guess old wives tales die hard. Sometimes mothers can be wrong about things.

But hey, kids, right back at you. Despite the existence of calculators, memorizing your multiplication tables is not a complete waste of time. Yes, ice cream is a dairy food, but it still should not be considered a dinner alternative. And I am pretty sure -- despite your emotional dinner table proclamations -- you will not die from just one more bite of broccoli.

You guys certainly dish out your fair share of wrong, as well.

But it appears, based on past results of the NewsCurrents Presidential Poll, kids are usually right when it comes to certain things. Like predicting the winner of a presidential election.

Since 1984, NewsCurrents , a weekly current events discussion program for K-12 schools published by Knowledge Unlimited of Madison, has asked a cross section of students across the country who they think will win the election. And according to a company press release, this poll has correctly predicted who would be dancing at the inaugural ball in each of the last seven races.

Matt Cibula, a spokesperson for NewsCurrents who has three school-age kids of his own, has some thoughts on what makes kids so prescient when it comes to elections. "In my opinion, young people have the most amazing BS filter of any humans. They can tune out the heated rhetoric and spiraling. We had great comments [in poll responses] on both sides," he continues. "The kids were very articulate about the reasons for their decision."

So, the kids got Ronald Reagan right in 1984 and the first Bush in 1988. Perhaps swayed by his funky shades and saxophone playing on the Arsenio show, they also rightly called the presidency for Bill Clinton in 1992.

And while the rest of the country was completely enveloped by Florida's "hanging chads" controversy in 2000, the stalwart youthful poll respondents had already declared George W. the victor.

Once again, the kids have spoken. According to this year's Newscurrents poll, things are looking good for President Obama. Our sitting Commander in Chief gained 50% of the votes to Gov. Romney's 43%. Other candidates rounded out the remaining 7%, with Jill Stein of the Green Party finishing highest among third-party candidates. Color me impressed. I'm not sure my kids even know there is a Green Party candidate running for the highest office in the land.

The Scholastic Student Presidential Vote is another major national youth poll that, with the exception of two elections since 1940, has also accurately projected the eventual presidential winner, confirms this one is heading Obama's way.

According to Judith Laitman, the publisher of NewsCurrents, their poll is not scientific. But maybe science is a bit overrated in these types of things, anyway. Because even with overwhelming medical evidence to the contrary, I'm still a bit leery about the whole swallowing-gum thing.

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