Big News: Obama Wins the Crayon Set

NBC's Today viewers and USA Today readers received more Barack Obama hype this morning as both outlets reported that children prefer Obama in this year's election.    

In classroom magazines, Scholastic, the children's publishing giant, invited children to vote for their favorite candidate in this year's presidential election.  Obama won by a large margin, taking 57 percent of the vote to John McCain's 39 percent.

Part of the reason the media reported the results is that they usually predict the winner of the general election.  Scholastic's poll has correctly predicted the outcome of all but two presidential elections since 1940. 

Scholastic News kid reporter Lya Ferreyra told Today co-host Matt Lauer, “kids are with their parents 24/7, you know, they have dinner with them.  They're able to listen in on conversations that politicians don't have access to so kids really have, you know, the update of what are their parents' opinion.”

Rebecca Bonder, editor-in-chief of Scholastic's magazines, expressed similar thoughts in USA Today.  She stated, “Kids do listen to their parents and they discuss politics in their families.”  However, due to the information children can now easily access, they “are forming their own opinions on whom they want to vote for.” 

An anecdote in the USA Today story, however, suggests that it might not just be the parents or children's own information sources that influence their political decisions.  Reporter Greg Toppo wrote, “In the thick of the race, fifth-grade teacher Michelle Gay at W.J. Carroll Intermediate in Daphne, Ala., had to squash a school bus rumor that claimed Obama didn't believe in God.”   

After reporting that “Obama won by a single vote” in Gay's classroom, Toppo quotes her as saying, “I do think they look at Obama as this young, good-looking man who has charisma and personality.” 

Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.