Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nick's Kids Pick the President

In what some consider a good barometer for the election, Nickelodeon held their usual Kid's Pick the President poll for 2008. The result? Obama won 51% to 49% for McCain. According to Linda Ellerbee, the Emmy Award-winning host of Nick News said that, "It's important to take note of who won the 'Kids' Vote,' simply because so many kids vote the way their parents will. But what really counts is this: they participated in democracy. They voted. How can this be anything but good?" In 2004, Nickelodeon's kids vote was considered the same way, with Cyma Zarghami, the President of Viacom, saying "The 'kids' vote' seems to work as a good barometer of the actual presidential vote because, developmentally, kids between the ages of two and 11 share the same opinions and outlooks as their parents." How did they vote in this important gauge in how their parents would vote? 57% of those kids supported John Kerry. The fact that this one is even closer than the poll in 2004 is telling. 2004 was the first time kids didn't pick the winner. Let's see if 2008 keeps up this new trend.


The Only Sensible Man Alive said...

I don't remember exactly when Nickelodeon's Kids Pick The President started, but I do remember that I watched Nickelodeon regularly as a kid, and that it was fairly late on in my watching career that it started. I would say as late as 1992, because I don't remember seeing a Kids vote on Bush Sr.'s initial presidential bid.

That said, Nickelodeon was established as Pinwheel in 1977, which means that the 1980 presidential election would have been the very first in which it could have held its Kids vote.

On the other hand, the Scholastic Kids Election Poll has been running since 1940, and has only failed twice (Truman in '48 and Kennedy in '60.)

Assuming the Kids Choice poll has been running since 1980, the failure rate is 1 / 7 is ~ 14.29%, the Scholastic poll failure rate of 2 / 17 is ~ 11.76%, which was called for Obama by a 57% to 39% margin.

I wouldn't put too much stock in either of these. fivethirtyeight.com has what is a pretty comprehensive analysis of all of the national pollings, as well as an excellent breakdown of how the polls control for party ID variations, registered vs. likely voters, and how these affect their actual sample sets. If you ignore the pretty pie charts at the right, and the simulation data, both of which very heavily favor Obama (I'm suspicious of their number-crunching, I'd be curious to see their algorithms) and go straight for the rolling average of the polling data, where standard statistical distributions are applied to the weighted values of the polls, I think that's probably a more stable barometer.

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