BOSTON — Young voters, who were crucial to President Barack Obama's election in 2008, now support him in even greater numbers than in a previous survey last fall, according to a Harvard University poll.
The poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics showed that 55 percent of the so-called Millennial Generation — ages 18 to 29 — said they approved of Obama's job performance, up six percentage points from October.
When asked who they favored in the race for the White House in 2012, the group gave Obama a 12-percentage point advantage over an unnamed Republican challenger, according to the poll.
John Della Volpe, polling director at the Institute of Politics, called the numbers "extremely important" for Obama as the presidential race neared.
"He cannot get re-elected without a significant majority of young people," Della Volpe said.
Della Volpe added that political campaigns incorporating effective youth outreach strategies would have a strong advantage in the 2012 election cycle.
The poll found that 80 percent of the more than 3,000 U.S. citizens surveyed were on the Facebook social media site and about a quarter were on Twitter.
It also showed that the health of the U.S. economy and jobs were the greatest worries for young voters, with healthcare a distant concern.
Many still viewed their personal financial situation as "very bad" or "fairly bad," with 82 percent of four-year college students saying it would be "difficult" to land permanent jobs after graduation, the poll showed.
The Web-enabled poll was taken between Feb. 11 and March 2.
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