How Well Do ERHS Students Know the Democratic Presidential Candidates?


Gabriela Holzer and Amy Lepore

With the 2020 Presidential election less than a year away, politics are on the minds of the masses. According to data provided by Prince George’s County, approximately 78% of voters in the county are registered Democrats. But how well do the students of ERHS know the Democratic Presidential candidates?

265 students in total were polled across various grades and programs at ERHS. The students were shown pictures of twelve Democratic candidates: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, and Tulsi Gabbard. The students were then asked to identify the candidates to the best of their abilities. The majority of students, about 21%, correctly identified three candidates. The next most common score, received by 17% of students, was one correctly identified candidate. Closely following was a score of zero correctly identified candidates, earned by just less than 17% of those polled. Only four students in the sample were able to identify all twelve of the candidates—just over 1%.  

Many students made up for their lack of knowledge with comedy. Responses repeated among many students were “Michelle Obama” under the photo of Kamala Harris and the labeling of Elizabeth Warren as “Hillary 2.0” and “Hillary Clinton’s sister.” Beto O’Rourke—the candidate who infamously began speaking Spanish during the first debate—was described by one student as “the guy who tried to speak español.” Many students mistook former Vice President Joe Biden for current Vice President Mike Pence. Though Biden was Vice President of the United States for eight years under Barack Obama, fewer students were able to identify him than were able to identify “Feel the Bernie” Sanders, who has proven to be more popular among younger Americans. 

The survey suggests that, presently, ERHS students don’t know much about the Democratic candidates. As the upcoming election approaches and dominates nationwide headlines, the Democratic field will continue to narrow. 

After the administration of this survey, Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris dropped out of the race, and Michael Bloomberg entered.