More bad news for Obama. The tsunami of youthful voters who drank the Hopenchange Kool Aid have grown up and they're no longer hooked!
The Washington Post tells the story: "Generation Obama grows up and moves on." An excerpt:
Now, in Charlotte, their group was representative of Obama’s youth support again: smaller, more realistic, more established and more fractious.
Some of the original members had become political insiders. Others had come to resent politics altogether.
The story of Generation Obama is the story of a key coalition in the 2012 presidential campaign. Many young voters were drawn into politics by this president, but now he is having trouble retaining their same level of support. It is a problem the Obama campaign has come to refer to as the “enthusiasm gap.” His staff is not so much worried about young voters favoring Mitt Romney, it is worried that the Obama volunteers of 2008 will turn into half-hearted voters and that the voters of 2008 will not bother to vote at all in 2012.
Obama continues to maintain a large lead over Romney with voters who are 18 to 29, but at no point in Washington Post-ABC polling of this race has he reached his level of support from 2008, when he was backed by 66 percent of young voters. Now, according to Post-ABC polling, about as many 18- to 29-year-olds hold “strongly negative” as “strongly positive” views of his work in office.
Sara Haile-Mariam, an activist from New York and a Generation Obama member, had started writing op-ed articles about her lack of engagement and keeping a personal blog. “The 2012 election cycle sucks,” she wrote. “Why? Because there is no real choice in this election.”
Matt Walters had traveled around the country with his then-girlfriend to knock on doors in 2008; now they were getting married and planning a honeymoon in Croatia, and the “events of our own lives have kind of taken over,” he said.
There was Arthur Leopold, once the most enthusiastic of them all, who had taken a semester off from school to help launch Generation Obama. He raised $1 million for Democrats in 2008 when he was only 20 years old, and called the convention in Denver “the most exciting point of my life.”
In the years since, Leopold graduated from Duke University and moved to New York. He took a job at an investment bank, where not everyone was so enamored with Obama and where he kept his politics close to the vest. He continued to support Obama but stopped raising money or obsessing over politics.
“The excitement or need to be there for the campaign just hasn’t really been there,” he said.
An old Obama acquaintance called to offer him a ticket to the convention in Charlotte. Leopold decided he couldn’t make it, so he offered the ticket to Cameron Chase, 22, an old friend from Duke. Chase, an Obama supporter who considered youth enthusiasm “pitiful” in this campaign, asked Leopold what would cause him to pass up a ticket to the convention.
“Life intervenes,” he said. “I’ve got a real job now, and I’ve got to go work.”
Youth Vote Evaporating for Obama
The problem for Obama goes deeper than just a handful of anecdotal reports. In an article for the Wall Street Journal Karl Rove ran the numbers tracking the youth vote:
Then there are voters ages 18 to 29, among Mr. Obama's most important supporters in 2008. The roughly 23.7 million "millennials" who voted in 2008 were 18% of the electorate, up 2.9 million voters over the previous presidential race. They gave Mr. Obama 66% to Sen. John McCain's 32%, according to exit polls. This margin of roughly eight million votes was a major chunk of Mr. Obama's overall edge of 9.6 million.
But youthful enthusiasm for Mr. Obama has waned. In October 2008, 78% of voters 18-29 told Gallup they would definitely vote that year. Now it's 58%.
There's also evidence that fewer younger people are registered. A November 2011 study from Tufts University found that 43% of the decline in Nevada's voter rolls since 2008 came from voters ages 18-24. Similarly, while North Carolina's rolls rose by 93,709 over that period, more than 48,000 younger voters were dropped from the rolls, 80% of them Democrats.
Mr. Obama's lead over Mr. Romney in the latest JZ Analytics poll among voters ages 18-29 is 49% to 41%. If young voters turn out this fall in the same numbers as in 2008 and give Mr. Obama this eight-point margin, it will take 2.8 million votes from Mr. Obama's total and add more than 3.3 million to Mr. Romney's tally.
It's this drip, drip, drip erosion in support for Obama that is now showing up in polls especially in key swing states. Just how far the erosion goes remains to be determined. But one thing is clear, 2012 won't be anything like 2008!