It looks like younger voters have cooled on Obama. So excited about "hope and change" just two years ago, they've watched along with all of us, how Obama abandoned the promise of his campaign and governed, as many of us warned, like a Chicago politician.
In trying to recapture the lost energy of the youth vote from 2008 Obama is doing numerous appearances at colleges and universities. It's about the only place he thinks he can draw a crowd these days. But sadly for him and the Democrats, this last desperate appeal to younger voters isn't working any better than the appeals to the rest of his base. Documenting the overall phenomenon, a recent Bloomberg poll showed 4 out of 10 Obama voters have lost faith in their messiah.
Focusing specifically on young college age voters, an Associated Press-MTV-U poll concluded: "The Obamamania that gripped college campuses two years ago is gone."
Forty-four percent of students approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 27 percent are unhappy with his stewardship, according to the survey conducted late last month. That's a significant drop from the 60 percent who gave the president high marks in a May 2009 poll. Only 15 percent had a negative opinion back then.College Republicans (full disclosure: I was the Ohio Executive Director of CR's eons ago) are tapping into the latest trend on campus with a new video ad called "The Breakup:"
The findings in the AP-mtvU poll, which surveyed more than 2,000 undergraduates age 18 to 24, come as students and others say political activity on campuses is way down from the frenetic levels of the 2008 presidential race. Josh Rohrer, a senior at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., says it was impossible to walk to class two years ago without seeing campaign fliers, T-shirts and tables strewn with candidates' brochures.
"Now, if you don't read a newspaper, you wouldn't know there's about to be an election," he said.
AP-GfK polls show Obama remains more popular among younger than older voters, but more older people express interest in the congressional elections. A September survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that among people under 30, those favoring Republicans are likelier than Democratic supporters to say they've thought a lot about the election.
Obama may spend a lot of time trying to gin up enthusiasm among the college crowd but it won't work. Still, he can't really go many other places without generating negative attention for Democrats so what else can he do?