Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 27, 2008

Americans prepare for election sure to be historic

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Though presidential campaign news is dominant, lots of other names and issues fill local ballots. Find a report on another political race in your city or state.
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On Nov. 4, voters will be more important than candidates, reporters or commentators. Look for their voices in coverage of any campaign.
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Everyone seems to have an opinion about politics and politicians. Try to spot one you agree with in an editorial, opinion column, cartoon, blog, reader forum or article.

It doesn't take a lucky guess or crystal ball to say history will be made Nov. 4 on Election Day. Headlines will say Americans elected either the first African American president -- Barack Obama, a Democrat -- or the first female vice-president -- Sarah Palin, running with Republican candidate John McCain. Either way, the major turning point will be in textbooks for future students.

Next week also could bring a record-high turnout. Republicans and Democrats predict a historic level of participation -- perhaps 130 million people, including millions casting their first ballot. States report record registration numbers and long lines formed during advance voting in Florida last week.
In most years, the United States has one of the lowest voter turnouts among mature democracies. In some countries, such as in Australia and the Netherlands, voting is mandatory.

Another factor drawing attention is whether Obama's healthy lead in most opinion surveys will turn out to be overstated -- which has happened to some African American candidates for state or city offices. This may be caused by false poll replies about candidate preference from people who don't want to seem biased. That theory even has a name -- "the Bradley effect," named for former Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, who lost a 1982 race for governor although polls signaled a wide margin of victory. He is black.

Young voter says: "It means a lot. It's kind of very important, and a lot of what happens affects us. So [voting] means a good deal to us." -- Maddy Murtha, Towson University student in Baltimore

Pollster says: "We have no evidence that people lie to us." -- Joe Lenski of Edison Media Research, which conducts Election Day exit polls for TV networks

Turnout theory: "Maybe one of the major reasons why turnout is so high is because people are so unhappy. Voters turn out on the basis of bad news." -- Andrew Kohut, head of Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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