The Right Politics

Whether it’s because college kids are getting smarter or have just found better things to do with their energy and time over the past four years, there is a survey result which indicates that President Barack Obama’s “star power” among the young is fading drastically in 2012 as compared to 2008.

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This week, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has released the results of a poll which indicates that the younger-voting generation is not as infatuated with “Forward!” in 2012 as it was with “Yes We Can” and “Hope and Change” in 2008 as directed by the candidacy of Barack Obama.

Fifty-two percent of the college-aged students – actually 18 to 29 years of age – are reported in this survey to be “extremely likely” to vote for President Barack Obama in 2012. Only 35% are “extremely likely” to vote for GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney. Though the separation of percentages is huge between President Obama and Governor Romney, the separation is significantly decreased from Obama and the Republican challenger of four years ago – Senator John McCain of Arizona who lost the presidential bid. Four years ago the separation between Obama and his conservative challenger was more like 66% to 32%.

One obvious factor that would keep Obama’s enthusiasm at bay in 2012, as compared to 2008, would be the promises Obama made in 2008 that have not been kept. Additionally, the younger generation of voters has had a very difficult time of finding a job – or at least a job of which they have spent time, effort, and money to become qualified for in the past four years.

Data-wise, this survey reveals that the president is some 14% points behind his support from the young voters in 2008.

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The only good news for President Obama in this polling of the young voters throughout the nation is that they aren’t very pleased with Romney as a candidate at all. Though they are more pleased with Romney in 2012 than they were with McCain in 2008, it is not saying a lot.

What many believe we may find on November 6 is that masses of young college voters may just sleep in on Election Day and do no more than go to their classes on that day. The election booth is a stop they may very well skip this time around.

About Scott Paulson

Scott Paulson writes political commentary for and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


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