October 18, 2012
If there was any doubt that the tidal wave of enthusiasm among young voters that fueled President Obama’s 2008 run has long since receded, a new poll on the millennial generation’s political leanings in the upcoming election cements it.
The Harvard Institute of Politics’ national survey of 18- to 29-year-olds, released on Wednesday, found that while likely young voters favor Obama by a 19-point margin—55 percent to Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 36 percent—only 48 percent say that they definitely plan to vote next month.
On every issue, from the economy to immigration to health care to foreign affairs, young voters said they trust the president more than Romney. Nonetheless, the Romney supporters appear to be more enthusiastic, with 66 percent who support the former Massachusetts governor saying they will definitely vote, compared to 55 percent of Obama backers.
In 2008, Obama won Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia with the help of young voters. If all the under-30s had stayed home, the historically red states would have remained in the GOP column.
The National Journal hastens to add that this isn’t any reflection on Obama himself, but on the political system as a whole. But didn’t Obama promise change, and a new kind of politics?
Maybe America has just become ungovernable.