Young Voters Abandoning Obama

Barack Obama was a big hit on college campuses in 2008. Two years later, those same young voters seem to be having second thoughts.

One of the notable things about Barack Obama’s campaign for the Presidency was the manner in which it appeared to energize college-age and twenty-something voters, traditionally a group that’s been known to stay home on Election Day. In 2008, voters aged 18-29 went for Barack Obama over John McCain by the absolutely stunning amount of 66% to 32%. According to one new poll, though, the President seems to have lost his edge with this particular part of the electorate:

WASHINGTON — Young voters who had been enthralled by Barack Obama’s “Yes, we can” message are now saying “Maybe not” — and are backing away from the president in a worrisome new poll for the White House.

Obama is losing in a match-up against a generic Republican challenger by 37 percent to 34 percent among voters in the 18-34 age group, according to a stunning Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday.

In March, voters in this group approved of Obama by 54 percent to 37 percent.

“The youngest age group may be the most impatient and the most easily disillusioned among all age groups,” said Molly Andolina, a youth-vote expert and DePaul University political-science professor.

For many young voters in 2008, “it was the first time they’d been really been involved, really paying attention. This is someone telling them, ‘Yes, you can,’ ” she said.

Two years later, with a prolonged Gulf oil spill, “watching how slow it is to respond may be a little disillusioning,” she added.

Part of the drop is likely explained by the ongoing unemployment problem, an issue that hits college graduates and others in their 20s harder than many other age group. As the article, notes, though, it’s likely that a large part of the drop in youth support is related to the fact that Obama has failed to live up to many of the promises he made during the campaign. Transparency, an end “the old ways in Washington,” closing Guantanamo Bay, ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. All of these were things that Obama told these young voters he was going to do and, eighteen months later, he hasn’t accomplished a single one of them.

Perhaps they’re all learning at an early age the cynical truth that some of us figured out later on. When it comes to a politician’s promise, it’s rarely worth the paper it’s printed on.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Herb says:

    This will probably change when “a generic Republican challenger” becomes a specific Republican challenger. Especially if the candidate is on the Bob Dole/John McCain end of the age spectrum.

  2. Tano says:

    “Obama has failed to live up to many of the promises he made during the campaign. Transparency, an end “the old ways in Washington,” closing Guantanamo Bay, ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’

    Thats a rather odd summary. The major themes that Obama emphasized were health care reform (accomplished), fostering educational innovation (accomplished), and an energy policy (stalled, but not dead). But staving off economic depression, and financial reform quickly imposed themselves as necessary areas of emphasis, and he has succeeded in both. And also raising America’s standing in the world, negotiating a START treaty with the Ruskies, getting the vampires out of the student loan program, etc. etc.

    “Transparency” is in the eye of the beholder – and is really difficult to quantify. Ditto “the old ways of Washington”. You really think that young people are fleeing Obama because they all judge these things to be most important, and not improving???
    Repealing DADT is an ongoing process, as is Gitmo closing. Seriously, do you think that young people, or anyone for that matter, thinks that delays in finalizing these issues overwhelm the major accomplishments listed above?

    “When it comes to a politician’s promise, it’s rarely worth the paper it’s printed on.”

    Obama has accomplished most of the major policy initiatives that he ran on – with the rest either in the pipeline, or thwarted for now by the Republicans. How can you possibly claim that his promises were not to be believed? The opposite seems to be true. He has done, or is doing or has made valient attempt to do everything he said he would. Why do you think the Republicans hate him so much?

  3. superdestroyer says:

    The title should really say that young white voters are abandoning (actually just a few are actually abandoning Obama and the Democrats.

    blacks, Hispanics, jews, and Asians will all stay at home and automatically vote for the Democrats. The question is whether the non-white Democrats that they stay away from the polls instead of automatically vote for the Democrats.

    All polls need the caveat that white voters are the only real swing voters and that all non-whites vote overwhelmingly for Democrats no matter who the candidate is.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Maybe it is about color. Don’t you think, Doug, red is a more appropriate color for the Democrats than for the Republicans? That was a nice bait and switch. Dems are true blue, but they are true blue to a policy more assoicated with the color RED. Most Americans will resist the Communist label. Obama not a communist. Van Jones said he is one. Almost all of the people around Obama seem to believe in communist principles. Even Shirley Sharron the non racist who calls Breitbart a racist and slanders him by saying he would like to see a return to slavery, is a Marxist. If you do not believe you are entitled to what you earn and that you owe it to those who do not achieve self support. You might be a communist too. Wonder which end of the plow they will put you on.

  5. just me says:

    This will probably change when “a generic Republican challenger” becomes a specific Republican challenger. Especially if the candidate is on the Bob Dole/John McCain end of the age spectrum.

    I am not sure if this is the case.

    I think what is more likely to happen is that those who were enamored with Obama or even strong supporters, but who have since changed their mind, may just not vote at all, if the candidate for the GOP doesn’t appeal (or some other third party candidate).

    I think todays politcal savvy independent voter isn’t loyal at all, and some of those youth may fit in that category. I think they want to see results and will happily switch to the other side, if they don’t see them.

    But in the end, I suspect we may end up seeing a change in congress, so that the GOP takes one or both houses, while the voters decide to keep Obama in the White House.

  6. wr says:

    Zels — Once again I have to ask why you believe you — and only you, apparently — are entitled to the fruits of others’ labor. If it is theft for the government to steal from the producers and give to those who are too lazy, stupid, greedy or inept to work, why are you accepting stolen property?

    Of course, you won’t answer again. Because there is no philosophy to your ugly rants, except the standard “people who don’t look like me don’t deserve anything.”

  7. anjin-san says:

    Zels… I am betting that you have cashed a hell of a lot more government checks than I have. Fricking pinko.

  8. tom p says:

    Gee, I guess He couldn’t walk on water after all…

    In other words, the young are especially naive, and thought having voted once, all would be OK…. Now they are finding out it is part of a process, one step at a time, and realizing,

    “WOW! The world really does suck!” and thinking maybe it just doesn’t matter, nothing they do will fix this mess. There are too many Tea Partiers and everyone is afraid of them (and that Andrew Brietbart is SOOO mean…) and those people in the GOP really think 2008 was THE GREATEST ECONOMIC SUCCESS STORY in history…

    “And what the hell can I do? Jim Demint isn’t even my Senator. Hell! He’s from S. Carolina! It doesn’t get any crazier than there!”

  9. tom p says:

    PS: also…

    I know it is like shooting fish in a barrel giving Zels a hard time about collecting unemployment,

    BUT LAY OFF HIM ABOUT COLLECTING IT!

    It is called unemployment INSURANCE for a reason. He earned it, he deserves it. (Yeah his boss paid for it (just like your boss matches your FICA taxes) BUT, if his boss didn’t pay the unemployment, he could pay Zels the cost of it and Zels could do with it as he would. (his boss wouldn’t, but that is a discussion for another day).

    In other words, “Hypocrisy… my long lost friend, I haven’t seen you since last week.”

  10. wr says:

    Tom P — In a word, no.

    His entire philosophy is based on hate and the fear that someone out there might be getting something that he isn’t. That he might have had to help out an inferior.

    He has opposed extending unemployment for other people because they are lazy slackers — which, in case you need a translation, means lazy n****s. But he collects it himself because in his case the need is real.

    You may feel free to excuse his hypocrisy if you will. Perhaps if he’d explain it, we could all understand.

    But as long as he continues to translate his self-pity and self-victimization into screeds of hate against good Americans, then I will continue to asky why he exempts himself from the rules he sets for others.

  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    As a matter of practical politics, you’re welcome to believe that the 19-29 age group is “abandoning” Obama if you want to Doug (if indeed you do and are not just producing a headline) but I rather doubt it. To the extent that there is disappointment, and I wouldn’t contest that, it’s largely for the reasons you suggest. The president hasn’t been radical enough in matters like greater economic stimulative measures, a faster withdrawal from Iraq or the passage of serious global warming legislation. But this hardly suggests they are going to embrace those that oppose these measures. Considering the vast volume of legislation he’s passed that has actually fulfilled the campaign promises he made (contrary to your above assertion) I suspect that once you get down to the short strokes of an election, most will be back.

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    To whom it may concern:
    Never engage in exchanges with wild eyed people pushing junk filled supermarket carts.

  13. Pug says:

    If you do not believe you are entitled to what you earn and that you owe it to those who do not achieve self support.

    I would rather that you just said “thank you” and went on your way.

  14. Ben says:

    I will guaran-damn-tee all of your that there is NO freaking way that any candidate the Republicans are going to realistically nominate will win the 18-29 demo. I’ll eat my shoes if they do.