Blog: Young voters support Obama, but it may not matter


In 2008, Pew Research Center reported, young voters were an ace in President Obama’s hand, but according to a new study shows that card might be unplayable this time around.

According to a national survey  conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, though 18-t0-29 year-olds find President Obama more trustworthy than former Mass. Governor Romney and are much more likely to vote for the incumbent, young people are much less eager to go to the polls.

When asked which presidential candidate they trust more to handle various issues, the poll shows President Obama favored on health care (+23%),  foreign policy(+23), immigration reform (+20) and the economy (+19 percentage points). The survey also reports Obama as trusted more to handle “issues of concern to someone your age” (+31).

AP Photo

55 percent of likely young voters say they will vote for Obama and only 36 percent will vote for Romney and young voters belief that Obama will win the election is also on the rise; 52 percent predict his victory, compared to last year’s 30 percent.

Even with the support of “generation y” Obama may not be at a true advantage. Overall only 48 percent of those polled said they would definitely vote — 18 percentage points lower than the 2008 young voter turnout.

Trey Grayson, director of Harvard Institute of Politics, believes this fall in enthusiasm is a direct reflection of a loss of faith in Washington.

“The IOP’s latest poll shows a clear sentiment by young adults that Washington is broken,”  Grayson said. “We must work together to re-engage youth in the political process – a goal critical to the health and future of our democracy.”

Though the IOP’s poll, which surveyed 2,123 U.S. citizens between 18 and 29, reported greater support for Obama, there was a silver lining for the former governor — Romney supporters were 10 percentage points more likely to actually cast a ballot.

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