A new informal survey showing a dramatic drop in support for Obama among recent college graduates has been making its way around the conservative blogs today. While the findings seem a bit too good to be true—only 27 percent of respondents said they will definitely vote for Obama in 2012—they also indicate a developing trend. Other recent polls have also shown that Obama doesn’t have the youth vote locked up for 2012. At the very least, it means that the youthful enthusiasm for the president that helped elect him in 2008 has somewhat diminished.
A similar Harvard poll from March found that 38 percent of young voters planned to vote for the president’s reelection, 25 percent planned to vote for the Republican, and the rest were unsure. The biggest issue for these voters is the economy, with 53 percent saying it was the most important national issue (in comparison, health care came in second at just 10 percent). The focus on the economy means that Republican candidates are in a prime position to reach out to them.
The GOP often ignores the youth vote, but this could be an easy demographic to target in 2012. The issues that matter most to the Republican base are also the issues that matter most to recent college graduates and independents.
And a GOP candidate would easily be able to counter Obama’s outreach to young people, which is wildly predictable and condescending. His campaign seems to believe that youth voters are won over by technology, social media and slickness – they’re not. Which is why their votes are still up for grabs. And if Republicans are able to tailor an economic message for young people that’s both bold and sensible, then the party could manage to make headway with this demographic.