Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the top vote-getters among presidential candidates in Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Iowa Youth Straw Poll.
Thousands of students across the state voted in the poll on Oct. 29, including students at Pleasantville Junior High, Melcher-Dallas High School and Twin Cedars High School.
With more than 21,000 votes cast, Donald Trump leads all presidential candidates with 35 percent of the vote overall, and more than 90 percent among Republican candidates. Bernie Sanders is the runaway favorite among Democratic candidates and has picked up 15 percent of the overall total. Joe Biden stands a distant second among Democrats at 8 percent. Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang are third and fourth, at 7 percent.
Many Youth Straw Poll participants will be eligible to participate in next year’s Iowa Caucuses, June primaries and the November 2020 general election. A recent law change allows Iowa 17-year-olds to register to vote and cast ballots in primaries if they will be 18 by Election Day.
Among U.S. Senate candidates, Republican Joni Ernst is easily outdistancing the field, garnering more than 51 percent of the overall vote. Kimberly Graham leads all Democratic candidates with 19 percent overall, followed by Eddie Mauro at 13 percent and Theresa Greenfield at 10 percent.
Iowa’s four U.S. Congressional races were also polled. Democrat Abby Finkenauer garnered 51 percent of the overall vote in the First District. Republican Bobby Schilling leads the way in the Second District, with 40 percent. Democrat Cindy Axne is the top choice in the Third District, at 45 percent, followed by David Young at 38 percent. Republican Steve King leads all candidates in the Fourth District, with 47 percent of the votes.
The Iowa Youth Straw Poll is open to students of every grade level and youth civic organizations. It is an unscientific poll and designed to be a hands-on learning experience that will hopefully inspire future civic engagement. Eighty-six percent of students said they will register to vote when they’re old enough.