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Local high school students demonstrated faith in our democratic system, expressed confidence in their economic future and questioned whether the government was moving in the right direction. These and other findings are the result of the first local civic engagement survey conducted recently by Kids Voting USA – Wisconsin/Marathon County.

The survey of more than 2,400 local students sought to determine how well we are preparing our teenagers to be civically engaged adults hit a 76% participation rate. Kids Voting USA – Wisconsin/Marathon County conducted the survey in November with the assistance of the Principals of Wausau East and West as well as the Wausau Charter High Schools.

  • Highlights include:
    In an age of political cynicism and government skepticism, Wausau teens think votes count. 63% Wausau High School students disagree or strongly disagree with the statement “I don’t think people’s votes really matter.”
  • When asked if they believed “People like me don’t have any say about what the government does,” they disagreed or strongly disagreed 41% of the time.
  • An overwhelming majority felt it was important or strongly important to vote in all levels of elections.
    79% strongly agreed or agreed that they would be able to find a full time job when they are ready.
  • They have plans for after high school. 77% intend to attend a 2/4-year college or technical school.
    They are split about their economic future. 35% think they will be better off than their parents or guardians while 25% disagree.
  • This split continues into their peer discussions about the future. 45% say they talk about these issues with others while 55% say they seldom or never discuss political issues with others.
  • When asked if they agree with the statement that, in general, our government is moving in the right direction, 31% had no opinion, 25% agreed or strongly agreed, and 44% disagreed or strongly disagreed.
  • In a hopeful sign for future voter participation, 60% reported participating in a Kids Voting election.

Kristen Lonergan, President of Kids Voting USA – Wisconsin/Marathon County said, “Kids Voting is proud to provide local perception into the discussion of increasing the civic engagement of our young people. The survey results provide meaningful local insight on the national concern of civic engagement.”

Kids Voting USA – Wisconsin/Marathon County exists to collaborate with parents and educational institutions in helping to prepare and excite young people for the challenges and decisions of Civic Engagement. This survey is the first of a Biennial Survey of Student Engagement. In addition to the survey, Kids Voting USA – Wisconsin/Marathon County collaborates with north central Wisconsin schools to hold in-classroom voting during Presidential and major statewide elections and produces a mock national and state political convention for high school students.

For more information, check out the survey, report, and press release. If you have any questions, please contact us.



Press Release