LISBON — Lisbon High School junior Nick Corey picked Barack Obama for president and Angus King for U.S. senator and said yes to gay marriage in a mock election Tuesday.
As Corey's votes went, so went Lisbon High School, and three other schools that held mock elections.
With 49 percent of Lisbon High School participating, 63.7 percent voted for Obama; 35.5 percent voted for former Gov. Mitt Romney. In the U. S. Senate race, Lisbon students picked independent Angus King, with 51 percent. Republican Charles Summers got 28 percent and Democrat Cynthia Dill got 20.1 percent.
They said yes to gay marriage by a nearly 2-1 ratio.
Mock elections held at Edward Little High School in Auburn, Lewiston Middle School, Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield and Paris Elementary School showed similar results, with students electing Obama and King and approving gay marriage.
Lisbon High's Corey, 16, said his family influenced his decision to support Obama. “I feel we should give him a chance and not throw him to the curb ... You can't expect (him to fix everything) in four years.”
He said he voted for King because he likes what he's heard about him. And he voted yes on Question 1 to allow same-sex marriage. “If people want to have it, they should,” Corey said.
Others disagreed on that issue.
“I said no to gay marriage,” said Alex Bennett, 16. He said he voted for Summers because King “put windmills in the mountains. That's where I like to go hunting.” He voted for Obama because “I like how he's been doing so far” and he wants to build more jobs.
Natalie Thomsen, 14, said she voted for Romney, and praised his debate performance. “He was full of great ideas . . . he had a lot more energy in all three debates than Obama did.”
Thomsen supports Romney's plan to cut funding to the Public Broadcasting Network. “Sesame Street is kind of annoying,” she said. She voted for Summers for the Senate, calling him “a family man,” and said no to gay marriage.
Jared Williams, 14, said he voted for Obama. “Romney would raise taxes for us and lower taxes for the rich,” he said. He also supported Dill and Question 1.
Ashley Caron, 15, a sophomore, said she voted for Obama because “he just has a better plan.” She supports Dill for Senate, and gay marriage. “If you love each other, you should be able to get married.”
Brittany Couillard, 16, a junior, voted for Romney. “He's very straightforward," she said. "We're going in the wrong direction; he's better.” She also voted for Summers and no on Question 1.
Lisbon High School has held presidential mock elections since 1992, veteran social studies teacher Dean Hall said.
Students voted for Bill Clinton over George H.W. Bush in 1992; Clinton over Bob Dole in 1996; and Obama over John McCain in 2008. In 2000, students voted 49.3 percent for Al Gore and 49.1 percent George W. Bush. “We didn't get the correct prediction, but we were close to how Maine voted,” Hall said.
How students vote often is a reflection of their families and their community, Hall said. Other times, high school students have different opinions from adults. Before Tuesday's votes were tallied, Hall predicted students would support gay marriage. “I don't know if their parents will,” he said.
The goal of the mock elections, educators say, is to get students involved in politics. It works, Hall said. One 2012 Lisbon High graduate, Dillon Pesce, is running for selectman. "A lot of it starts with American Citizenship class," Hall said. "We try to make sure they become part of the system.”