John Zogby says President Barack Obama is working overtime trying to re-sell himself to his base of voters age 18-29. However, the growing libertarian leanings of this key demographic will make it a more difficult target than four years ago, according to an opinion piece in Forbes.com
“Just as there is no doubt Romney will easily carry reluctant tea partiers and social conservatives, Obama will again win the age cohort I call ‘First Globals,’ ” opines Zogby in Forbes.com. “But it seems unlikely he will again win 66 percent of their votes, or that they will equal their turnout of 2008, which matched the historic high set in 1972, the first year the voting age was lowered to 18. Four years ago, First Globals made up 18 percent of all voters. In 2010, that fell to 12 percent.”
Harvard’s Institute of Politics' new online study of more than 3,000 U.S. adults ages 18-29 finds that First Globals finds the economy and jobs far and away their highest concern.
“That data point and others show why support for Obama has slipped since 2008,” Zogby says in Forbes.com. “They favor Obama over Romney, 43 percent to 26 percent. There is an 11-point difference in Obama’s margin between those 25-29 [23 points] and those 18-24 [12 points.] Congressional Democrats have a higher approval than Republicans, 39 percent to 25 percent.”
Zogby says it’s a sure thing that Obama will continue campaigning on college campuses and in live and media settings where voters under 30 can be found. “He is now drumming Republicans over the head about keeping student loan rates from going up. Democrats will go all out to paint Republicans and Romney as out of touch on social issues and in the pockets of the infamous 1 percent vilified by Occupy Wall Street.
“Those are good themes for Obama, but he must frame his appeals to young voters’ libertarian impulses or risk falling short of the margins he needs for re-election.”
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