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Youth Apathy: Despite Obama’s Best Efforts, Youth Unlikely to Bother Voting
Looks like President Obama’s college tour was all for naught: a new poll reveals that young people are unlikely to bother voting in 2012, despite the fact that they may prefer Obama to Mitt Romney.
A Gallup poll conducted earlier this week surveyed voter registration and likelihood to vote, broken down by age groups. Among the 18-29 set, 60 percent indicated that they are registered to vote. Obama enjoys a wide lead over Romney in this age group: 64 percent support Obama while only 29 percent support Romney, although it is early so few have probably paid attention. However, when asked if they definitely will vote in the general election, only 56 percent replied yes, and in reality in this age group that usually means less will actually turn out.
Comparatively, every other age group surveyed–30 to 49, 50 to 64 and 65 and over– had a yes response rate of 80 percent or more.
Obama ran away with the youth vote in 2008: Voters between the ages of 18 and 29 chose him over McCain 66 percent to 32 percent, exit polls showed.
The actual percentage of young voters who turned out in 2008 was not much higher than in previous years: In 2008, 18 percent of the electorate was comprised of voters between 18 and 29. In 2004 that age set made up 17 percent of the electorate. The same was true for 2000. John Kerry and Al Gore won the youth vote in those years as well, but their margins were nowhere near Obama’s.
Still, as ABC’s Amy Walter noted earlier this week, Obama’s percentage of the youth vote in key swing states like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida grew substantially from that of John Kerry in 2004, no doubt helping him carry these important states and ultimately claim victory. If that group doesn’t come out to support him this time around, that is definitely a concern.
Despite the fact that the president is doing his utmost to appeal to young voters, it looks like they’re just not that excited. Obama said it himself, supporting him just isn’t that hip anymore. Looks like the honeymoon is over, and the youth is heading back into its politically apathetic cave.