Partly to further purpose of cultural education and internationalization, and partly as an outlet for my electoral frustrations, I had the 3rd graders at Saroma Junior High vote for the US President yesterday. The 14-15 year old rural northern Japan demographic could turn this election. First, I handed them an information sheet, which introduced the two candidates as well as new words. Party, Age, Family, Hobbies, Slogan. I left out policy matters. Even if the English wasn’t too difficult, I doubted they would much care. Then they did a fill-in-the-blank paragraph using the new words they had learned. After, we spent 15 minutes watching some campaign commercials from both sides (stupid ones from both sides too), a few minutes of the third debate, a few minutes of the SNL parody of the third debate, and an “Obama Quest” Daily Show clip.
Then they voted. Across both third grade classes, Obama won in a landslide: 49 votes to 11 for John McCain. That’s a 64-point win! I think we can all feel relieved from this new poll that Obama is in good position for victory.
In addition to their vote, I asked for a short explanation of their decision. Essentially an exit poll. McCain wins on experience, and Obama wins on youth and coolness, with McCain’s age a big deciding factor for this demographic. Here are some of the more interesting ones:
He seems to have experience, and a killer smile.
Even though he is old, he’s doing his best. His commercials were interesting and he seems to have a lot of experience!
The Republican Party is better for Japan. Even though he is someone that I don’t know.
Because he is a grandpa.
He’s really getting on in years, but since he’s been a Senator for 26 years, I think he can do the job fairly well.
Because McCain looks like he’s going to die soon.
Because he’s young and his motto has a good feeling.
Because I think that a young person is better to make change.
I think it would be good to have America’s first black president.
Because Obama is fun and it seems like he will be steady.
Mr. Obamaにアメリカを変えていってほしいと思う。あとMr. ObamaはDemocratだから。共和党より民主党のほうが信頼できる
I think I want America to be changed by Mr. Obama. Also, because Mr. Obama is a Democrat. I think we can have faith in the Democratic Party more than the Republicans.
He has a really good smile, and I think in his case, he might save not just America, but the world.