It’s no secret that the young generation of voters rallied around Barack Obama and helped push him into the presidential spotlight in the 2008 election. Can he count on that vote to carry him through 2012?
The Harvard Institute of Politics conducted a survey of voters ages 18 to 29 to see who they preferred. Obama had 43% of the vote, whereas Romney has 26%. In December, Obama was at 37% and Romney was at 26%.
Obama may still have the young vote in his favor, but he should not consider the presidency in the bag. The LA Times writes about how although young voters favor him, they are also less likely to vote or volunteer for campaigns.
John Della Volpe, polling director for the Harvard Institute of Politics, gives some reasons why the interest in voting may be tapering off. “There were some factors that led people to increase engagement in ’02, ’06, ’08 — Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, not agreeing with Bush, 9/11, and obviously Obama and the use of new tools to mobilize,” explained Della Volpe. Della Volpe went on to say as students focus on getting an education, paying loans and staying afloat, political involvement is not at the forefront of concern anymore.
That is part of the push behind Obama’s current trip. Obama is visiting the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Iowa this week. His main topic? How to keep the costs of college loans down. It’s a popular topic among the young voters, and if Obama’s message is loud and convincing enough, he might motivate some more voters to participate.
The problem Obama is running into? Romney voiced that he agreed with Obama’s focus. This could mean Romney could snatch some voters Obama was counting on. Overall, however, Romney has been focused middle class families.
What do you think? Do Obama and Romney need to fight to gain the young vote? Or will it be a different crowd of people who carry the election this fall?