University News

IL State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb; 93rd District) speaking at the 2015 Western Illinois University Mock Presidential Election, Nov. 2.
[Download Print-Quality Image]

With more than 400 Electoral College votes, the Democratic ticket—Bernie Sanders, president, and Martin O'Malley, vice president—was declared the winner in Western Illinois University's third Mock Presidential Election (MPE), "The Road to the White House Starts at Western Illinois University" Nov. 2 (2015).
[Download Print-Quality Image]

Popular vote totals from the 2015 WIU Mock Presidential Election, "The Road to the White House Starts at Western Illinois University."
[Download Print-Quality Image]

WIU President Jack Thomas speaking at the 2015 WIU Mock Presidential Election, "The Road to the White House Starts at Western Illinois University."
[Download Print-Quality Image]

Democratic Ticket Wins Mock Presidential Election; WIU Students Voted Sanders/O'Malley to Take Top Seats

November 3, 2015


Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL — With more than 400 Electoral College votes, the Democratic ticket—Bernie Sanders, president, and Martin O'Malley, vice president—was declared the winner in Western Illinois University's third Mock Presidential Election (MPE), "The Road to the White House Starts at Western Illinois University" Monday night. The Jeb Bush (president)/Marco Rubio (vice president) Republican ticket garnered 114 electoral votes. (Popular vote totals for the parties were: Democrats Sanders/O'Malley: 741; Republicans Bush/Rubio: 577; Libertarian Party's Lex Green (president)/Rand Paul (VP): 159; and Green Party's Jill Stein(president)/Peter Schwartzman (VP): 50. See www.wiumpe.com for more information.)

The 2015 event, the largest and most elaborate mock presidential simulation in the nation, included five sessions and involved thousands of WIU students. Over the five sessions, from Oct. 20-Nov. 2, students took part in simulations of the Iowa Caucuses and the state primaries, the national nominating conventions and the Electoral College vote. During the process, Western students' votes determined primary winners and, ultimately, the winning presidential ticket.

Whether or not the students will again be correct in their presidential prediction remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain: the 2007 and 2011 events both yielded spot-on results of the subsequent years' presidential elections.

"Western's MPE may be the most accurate political bellwether in the country. In 2007, Western students accurately elected Democrat Barack Obama president of the United States—one year before it actually happened. In 2011, WIU students accurately predicted a narrow Obama reelection over the Republican ticket of Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan," WIU Centennial Honors College Director Richard Hardy explained. "Once again, this year, students from every college at Western and virtually every school and department on campus participated by helping to organize the MPE and attending the sessions. The MPE not only showed them the importance of civic engagement, but also provided them with an in-depth understanding of how the entire presidential election process works."

Scene from 2015 WIU Mock Presidential Election

Political Practice

Students and faculty from the WIU Department of Broadcasting and Journalism provided live political commentary for each one of the sessions, and the event was streamed on the web live via the help of University Television.

"Western Illinois University is at the forefront nationally for preparing students to be active and contributing citizens. The Mock Presidential Election embodies Western's core values of academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility in a dynamic, engaging and real-world manner," added Paul Schlag, associate director of Western's Centennial Honors College.

Although only three Mock Presidential Elections have been held at Western, the Mock Presidential Election simulation process is one that Hardy and WIU Professor John Hemingway developed when they were senior teaching assistants for mass-lecture American Government classes at the University of Iowa in the mid-1970s. The two have have been conducting mock presidential elections since 1975, and their students have compiled an amazing record of forecasting the eventual presidential nominees and party winners. In 2006, Hardy and Hemingway reconnected at Western and took on the task of organizing the campus-wide Mock Presidential Election events.

For more information, contact Hardy at (309) 298-2228 or RJ-Hardy@wiu.edu.

Students and faculty in the WIU Dept. of Broadcasting and Journalism provided political commentary for the 2015 Mock Presidential Election,

Scene from WIU Mock Presidential Election

More Photos and Information

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (TE-Koltzenburg@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations