Research Study Says Impressions of Past Presidents Influence Today's Voters' Choices

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National Student/Parent Mock Election Reaches Out to Voters of Tomorrow

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For students to become truly engaged as voters, they need to learn how free elections have, over the course of our history, advanced the nation's effort to achieve the ideals of its founders

The Democratic candidate for President is black - a man who would most likely have been a slave in 1776.

The Republican candidate for Vice President is a woman - a person who would not have had the right to vote in 1776.

According to a recent independent study conducted by researcher Dr. Leo J. Shapiro, and released by the National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME), these are the kind of important associations that today's students need to understand as they learn about democracy and the electoral process - facts that will help inform how they vote when they turn 18.

A renowned researcher in the arena of social science and behavior and an NSPME Board Member, Shapiro's findings are influencing new curriculum developed by the NSPME for an estimated seven million elementary, high school and college students now preparing to vote on October 30 in the 2008 Presidential Mock Election.

In his independent research Bloodless Revolution - 2008, Shapiro finds that Americans, in choosing between McCain and Obama, not only compare the candidates to each other but also judge how well each candidate measures up to the leadership qualities of the past president whom - if miracles could happen - they would want to lead the nation.

In his most recent October survey, 83 percent of those queried spontaneously named the past president whom they would want to lead the nation today. In order of frequency of mention, the preferred past presidents are: Ronald Reagan (18%); Bill Clinton (15%); John Kennedy (13%); Abraham Lincoln (9%); Franklin Roosevelt (7%); Harry Truman and George Washington (3% each); and Thomas Jefferson (2%).

In September and October 2008 surveys conducted by Shapiro, 77 percent who named Reagan as their most preferred past president would vote for McCain, while 68 percent of those naming Clinton as their most preferred past president would vote for Obama. Among those who named John Kennedy as their preferred past president, 65 percent said they would vote for Obama. (SOURCE: 960 interviews with Americans sampled nationally conducted at the rate of 480 interviews a month.)

Gloria Kirshner, President of the National Student/Parent Mock Election said, "When I learned of Dr. Shapiro's findings, it became clear that we needed to add all of the Presidents' biographies to our curriculum, and thanks to the internet, we've been able to provide links for students to learn about every one of our Presidents, as well as Senators Obama and Senator McCain." She added, "The results of Dr. Shapiro's study validate our thinking behind the National Mock Election - that students need to learn more about the democratic process and the importance of each and every vote. We encourage teachers, students and parents around the country to register to vote in this year's National Mock Election on October 30."

"For students to become truly engaged as voters, they need to learn how free elections have, over the course of our history, advanced the nation's effort to achieve the ideals of its founders," said Shapiro. "The right to vote is exactly that, a precious right, allowing each person to be heard and to help make history."

For Dr. Shapiro's complete report, go to http://www.8sages.com. To download the NSPME curriculum and to register to vote in the National Student/Parent Mock Election, go to http://www.NationalMockElection.org by October 30.

About the National Student/Parent Mock Election:
The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) is the nation's oldest, largest and most successful voter-education project, dating from 1980. Since the first Mock Election in 1980, nearly 50 million young voters have cast their ballots and, in the process, discovered what it means to be an American citizen and the value of citizenship in our democracy. Every generation is invited to participate in the National Student/Parent Mock Election and to help "preserve and protect" our democracy. Partners for the 2008 National Student/Parent Mock Election include: USA Today, the education company Pearson, the Pearson Foundation, the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation, Declare Yourself, Strong American Schools, School Perceptions, Google, BrainPOP, the National PTA, the National School Boards Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Student Councils, and the Council of the Great City Schools. The Election Assistance Commission and the Kaplan Foundation provide ongoing funding for the Mock Election. The collective contributions of all supporters help NSPME create a richer and more meaningful experience for students, parents and teachers. For more information, go to http://www.nationalmockelection.org.

Contact: kate.miller@pearson.com - 800-745-8489

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Kate Miller
National Student/Parent Mock Election
800-745-8489
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