Kids Pick the President

Kids Pick the President is a series of campaign specials produced by the Nickelodeon TV network, organized around a mock election to determine children's choice for the President of the United States. Since 1988, Kids Pick the President has accurately predicted the winner of each election with the sole exceptions of the 2004 and 2016 races.[1]


The specials began in 1988 as part of a yearly "Kids Vote" election-related coverage, in part as a way to encourage children in Nickelodeon's audience to become engaged in the political process, and partly for comedic value.[2][3]

The 1992 election was sponsored by Target Corporation, and promoted by newspaper advertisements. Children voted in-person at Target's stores, which were used as polling stations.[4]

In the 1996 election, conducted by televote, children picked Bill Clinton over Bob Dole and Ross Perot.[5]

In the 2000 poll, 400,000 people participated via an 800 number.[6] Both Al Gore and George W. Bush made campaign appearances at the Nickelodeon studios.[7]

In 2004, Nickelodeon promoted the event with interstitials throughout its regular programming, features in Nickelodeon Magazine, online activities, and a book.[8] Both John Kerry and George W. Bush declined to appear, stating they were too busy.[7] The results were announced by Linda Ellerbee on U-Pick Live.[8] Kerry received 57 percent of the vote; President Bush got 43 percent.[9] This would be the first vote where its results went against those of the general election.[1]

In 2008, 2.2 million people participated in the event.[2] Both major candidates participated, and filmed television commercials promoting the event. Participants were allowed to vote, without any voter eligibility or verification, on a non-partisan page of Nickelodeon's website that outlined the candidates' positions on various issues. Barack Obama received 51 percent (1,167,087 votes), and John McCain received 49 percent (1,129,945 votes).[2] Linda Ellerbee announced the results live again in 2008.[2]

In 2012 Obama won with 65% of the vote over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.[1] Romney declined to participate, citing scheduling constraints; instead, clips were shown from previous campaign events in which the participants' questions were addressed. In contrast, Obama invited the participants to meet him in person at the White House to answer their questions. The decision by Romney to not participate was considered by Nick News host Linda Ellerbee to be an example of his lack of "respect" for youth; the Obama campaign also responded by stating that children "demand details", and wanted "answers on why Romney could increase their class sizes, eliminate their teacher's jobs, raise taxes on their families and slash funding for Big Bird."[10]

In 2016, Nickelodeon's poll conducted 3 candidates: Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Libertarian Gary Johnson. Nickelodeon only offered information on the Democratic and Republican nominees. It was the first election since Ellerbee's retirement, and this was reflected in coverage which was seen less on Nickelodeon than in the past, with the results offered in a short feature during a Saturday night 'theme night' revolving around elections in episodes of the network's sitcom block. Clinton was the winner, with 53 percent of the vote; Trump received 36 percent while Johnson received 11 percent; this would be the second time the kids vote would not match the winner of the general election.[11]

Other children's elections

The "Scholastic Election" has been conducted by Scholastic Corporation Scholastic News every election year since 1940. It claims to have predicted the final election results correctly with three exceptions: Harry S. Truman's win over Thomas Dewey in the United States presidential election, 1948, John F. Kennedy's win over Richard Nixon in the United States presidential election, 1960, and Donald Trump's win over Hillary Clinton in the United States presidential election, 2016. [12][13][14]

The "Kids Voting" election takes place in school classrooms, as part of a curriculum exercise in the American democratic process, with different programs designed for kindergarten through high school students. It is a nationwide organization made up of local affiliates. Unlike the others, which generate publicity by announcing their results shortly before the general election, the Kids Voting election takes place on the actual Election Day.


  1. 1 2 3 Obama Wins By A Landslide - In Kids' Online Poll. Sky News. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Nickelodeon viewers 'vote' for Obama". United Press International. 2008-10-21.
  3. Cathleen Schine (1988-10-30). "From Lassie to Pee-Wee". New York Times.
  4. "Kids get a chance to vote". St. Petersburg Times. 1992-10-06.
  5. "Kids Vote to Re-Elect Clinton". Daily Courier. 1996-10-29.
  6. Jim Rutenberg (2000-10-18). "When the Children Vote". New York Times.
  7. 1 2 Lynn Smith (2004-10-16). "Candidates decline Nick kids". Los Angeles Times.
  8. 1 2 Kathryn Shattuck (2004-05-09). "A Backyard Bluesfest with Talent Front and Center". New York Times.
  9. . China Daily News. 2004-10-21 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. "Feathers fly at Nickelodeon". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  11. "Hillary Clinton is the Winner of Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the President "Kids' Vote"". Yahoo!. 2016-11-05. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  12. Robin Thibault (2008-10-20). "Kids Vote: Play Media". KARK News.
  13. "Obama wins Scholastic kids vote election". United Press International. 2008-10-14.
  14. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links

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