A Pew Research poll released on Monday showed the President’s support is waning in key demographics from his 2008 election--including the youth vote--despite his best efforts. Though he handily won over the MTV generation in 2008 by a 33 point margin over Senator McCain, it appears that a handful of young people are thinking twice this time around.
The Pew poll shows President Obama with 56 percent of the youth vote, a 21 point lead over Governor Romney. Though he still holds a strong lead among young Americans, a 10-point drop in support from four years ago is nothing to ignore.
Senator Obama won the hearts of young people in 2008 with the promise of hope and change for America. He promised he would “cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term” with “the most transparent administration ever.” President Obama also said, “when I’m President, I will make college affordable for every American.” He was cool, optimistic, and appealing.
Four years later, President Obama has nothing to show for hope and change other than higher tuition, massive student loan debt, $16 trillion national debt, and unemployment.
Young people have suffered more from President Obama’s economic policies than any other demographic. In the last four years, young Americans have seen tuition increase 25 percent, average student loan debt climb to more than $27,000, and gas prices skyrocket. All the while, students have about a 30 percent chance of moving home with their parents after college, and those who are lucky enough to find a job are taking a 6 percent cut in their income.
Optimism has faded and reality has set in. Young Americans couldn’t be more disappointed, which is exactly why youth voter enthusiasm--young people who say they will “definitely vote”--has fallen 30 percent since 2008, from 78 percent to 48 percent.
But this isn’t stopping President Obama from pandering to them. He needs their vote.
If we saw the same voter turnout from 2008 for every other age demographic, President Obama would need at least 55 percent of the youth vote to guarantee a win in 2012. He knows he is drawing a thin line, which is why he has increased his visits on college campuses 175 percent since 2011.
But his message isn’t working. While the Obama campaign is focusing on free contraception, young people are focused on their empty wallets. A Generation Opportunity poll showed that 89 percent of young people say that the poor economy is impacting their daily life, and 84 percent of those surveyed said they have either delayed, or plan to delay, major life changes because of the weak economy. The Obama economy has economically devastated young people, which is why the polls show that President Obama has only lost, not gained, their support.
The President’s economic record is sinking his ship, and no one wants to go down with him--even his most loyal youth supporters. We can expect President Obama to have a rude awakening on November 6th when the youth polls are closer than he hoped.