Young and motivated voters are plunging this year, which could prove disastrous for President Barack Obama.
Four years ago, a groundswell of support from the under-30 crowd helped Barack Obama win the presidency, the Baltimore Sun
noted in its report on the decline in young voters.
This election year, voter registrations across the country are down among young people, leaving a huge part of the electorate up for grabs, the Sun reported Thursday. Both Democrats and Republicans are now scrambling to lure them over to their side as Obama gears up for what promises to be a tough re-election battle and GOP candidates slug it out in the primaries for the chance to take him on this fall.
The task of bringing them back into the fold won’t be easy for Obama, who won two-thirds of the 20-something vote in 2008. And every little gain for Republicans would be a victory, given the fact that 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain did so poorly among young voters in his loss to Obama.
The Sun noted a Harvard University Institute of Politics survey in December that showed the president’s approval rating among voters under 30 to be down about 12 percentage points from where it was two years earlier.
“There was an enormous amount of hope in Obama in 2008,” said Curtis Gans, director for the Center for the Study of the American Electorate.
Gans told the Sun it seems that a lower turnout is inevitable unless young voters are given a real reason to show up at the polls. “Essentially, you can have the best rhetoric in the world, but if you can’t deliver, they won’t turn out,” Gans said.
To illustrate the scope of the problem, especially for Democrats, the Sun also noted a recent voter registration study by Tufts University Center for Information & Research on Civil Learning and Engagement that looked at several competitive states in this year’s election.
In North Carolina, for example, the survey found that Democrats had lost nearly 40,000 registered voters between the ages of 19 and 25 since 2008. In Nevada, the figure was 25,000.
According to the Sun, the study concluded that the drop in registrations could prove a “major difficulty” for Obama’s re-election campaign.
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