BY EMMA PEPPER, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, THE HUB
High school seniors across West Virginia will be asked about their positions on key political and social issues next month, ahead of November’s mid-term election. The innovative polling project – the first of its kind in West Virginia – will deliver questions to students via text message, asking them for their opinions before the first election in which many of them will be eligible to vote.
100 Days in Appalachia, published in collaboration with the West Virginia University Reed College of Media, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and The Daily Yonder of the Center for Rural Strategies, will undertake the statewide digital survey in late September, which will include high school seniors not just in West Virginia but in other states throughout the region.
100 Days in Appalachia is looking for teachers and students to sign up now to take part! Find out more + sign up at http://www.100daysinappalachia.com/pollingproject/.
The polling project is also being supported by Inspire U.S., a nonpartisan organization that encourages high school students to be civically engaged, and Teachers College at Columbia University. The results of the polling will be used to inform reporting about the mid-term elections by 100 Days in Appalachia and its partners.
The polling results will also be made available to the participating schools, organizations and other media outlets in the region. The non-partisan survey will not ask students to identify with or endorse a political party, or to select typical binary “for/against” political categorizations on key issues, but instead will present students with a wider range of choices to allow them to describe more accurately their political and social views.
High school seniors will be asked to identify the issues that are important to them as well as their feelings about those pivotal to the election, including immigration, government spending, America’s role in the world, health care and social services.
The goal of the project is to give young Americans, particularly those in the Appalachian region, the opportunity to describe how they feel about these issues outside of the framework of traditional partisan lines.