By Lexi Kupor
On March 3, a total of 568 LGHS students across grade levels and political outlooks participated in a voluntary primary poll that coincided with Super Tuesday, the date of numerous state primaries across the nation, including California.
The poll was organized by US History teacher Tyler McGlashan, who explained that “as long as I have been teaching, I have held mock elections among students, so I have been able to track the political beliefs of young people over the years, and I find the data fascinating.” McGlashan also emphasized the importance of such polls in encouraging political participation; “my hope is that these mock elections will make students more likely to vote for real when they turn 18,” he added.
Democratic candidate and Vermont native Bernie Sanders won 35.2 percent of LGHS’s votes, a greater proportion than any other included in the survey. These results matched closely with the results of California’s state primary, during which Sanders was awarded over 200 pledged delegates and 34.7 percent of the total vote; he also won over 32 percent of the vote in Santa Clara County alone.
Sanders, with 736 total pledged delegates nationwide as of March 15, is currently a frontrunner in the race to receive the Democratic nomination later this year, following behind rival Joe Biden, who holds 890 national pledged delegates. Similar trends are mirrored in LGHS results; Biden won 19.4 percent of the school’s vote, slightly less than his 26.6 percent won statewide. An anonymous student who voted for Biden expressed their strategic motivations, explaining, “I voted for Biden not necessarily because I support his policy, but rather because I feel that he has the best shot to beat Trump in the general election.”
However, results corresponding to candidates such as Donald Trump differed immensely from statewide trends. Less than one sixth of LGHS students voted for Trump, while 31.5 percent of Californians supported the current president in the 2016 election.
“The most surprising point from the student election…was how few LGHS students said they supported Trump, only 15 percent. This is surprising because in the election we held in 2016, 31 percent of LGHS students backed Trump. It is also notable that far fewer students supported Biden (19 percent) than Bernie (35 percent),” McGlashan observed. Yet, school data points may be skewed, as a highly liberal environment such as the surrounding Silicon Valley often stifles more conservative voices, causing a possible decrease in these students’ voluntary political participation.
Several other Democratic candidates received student support, including 12.9 percent for Elizabeth Warren, 3.4 percent for Amy Klobuchar, 12.4 percent for Michael Bloomberg, and 1.0 percent for Andrew Yang, all of whom have since announced the end of their candidacies. One anonymous student explained that “[they] voted for Amy Klobuchar because [they] feel like she had the most realistic proposals in terms of what could actually be accomplished during a presidential term, and she had a lot of prior experience in government.”
As the party nominating conventions near, more nationwide primary data will soon be available to the public, as well as further results from LGHS students. McGlashan expressed hopes to reach a wider audience as the political contest intensifies; “we will hold another school-wide vote for the election in November, and my hope is that we can collect votes from at least 1500 of the 2000 kids at this school,” he remarked.