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A new survey conducted by The Week Junior and YouGov found that kids are paying attention to politics — and they want their leaders to take education, health care, and protecting the environment seriously.

Conducted online from Sept. 18-30, the Junior Voices survey polled 701 children ages 8-14 from across the United States and had a margin of error of ± 3.7 percent. Respondents were asked about everything from the qualities they want to see in leaders to the first thing they would do if elected president. The Week Junior Editor-in-Chief Andrea Barbalich said their responses show “this generation of children is very aware of and engaged with what’s happening in the world.”

The top four issues the children said they’d like to see the next president focus on were protecting the Earth (49 percent), making sure people have access to health care (46 percent), improving high school and college education (43 percent), and ensuring equality for all (42 percent).

When asked the first thing they would do in the White House if elected president, 22 percent of respondents said they would make everyone feel safe, while 18 percent would promote equality for all, 16 percent would make sure all kids receive a good education, 13 percent would ensure everyone has health care, 11 percent would pass laws to protect the environment, and 9 percent would create more jobs.

When it comes to political leaders, 25 percent said the most important character trait is honesty, followed by empathy at 13 percent, and the ability to work with others at 10 percent.

The children surveyed are plugged in, with 77 percent saying they talk about current events with their family at least every few days and 85 percent saying it’s important to learn about global events. They’re also optimistic, with 78 percent saying they believe individual actions can make a positive difference in the world. They also want to be heard: 84 percent said they wish adults would listen more to kids. Catherine Garcia

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