If U.S. school students were allowed to vote, they would elect Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, according to a poll by U.S. publisher Scholastic released on Tuesday.

scholastic.jpgAlmost a quarter of a million students voted online and by mailing paper ballots between August and Oct. 10 with 57 percent choosing Obama over his Republican rival John McCain, who garnered 39 percent of the vote.

In key swing states McCain took Colorado, Indiana and Missouri, while Obama won other battlground states including Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Since 1940 the results of the Scholastic Election Poll have picked the winner in all but two elections — 1948, when the students chose Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman, and 1960 when they voted for Richard M. Nixon over John F. Kennedy.

But Scholastic points out that the poll is not based on a scientifically designed sample of the student population and is instead an education activity to encourage thought and debate.