Young Americans are feeling better about President Obama than they were just four months ago, a new poll from Harvard’s Institute of Politics has found. The survey contains both good and bad news for the Obama campaign: While Obama’s supporters are currently more passionate than supporters of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, young people overall are feeling disillusioned with the political system and unenthusiastic about voting in 2012.
“The Obama voters at this point seem more committed and more passionate about helping him out,” said John Della Volpe, polling director at the Harvard Institute of Politics. But, he added, “we’re seeing less interest in voting, less interest in electoral politics generally” among young people compared to four years ago and even four months ago.
In a head-to-head matchup, Obama leads Romney 43 percent to 26 percent among young voters, the poll found. That’s a 6-point gain for Obama compared with a poll released by the IOP in December 2011; support for Romney has remained the same, despite his new status as presumptive Republican nominee. Thirty percent of young voters say they’re still undecided.
President Obama's schedule this week includes talks about college affordability at three major state universities. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns are using the opportunity to debate the issues that impact college-age voters.
In a Romney campaign conference call on Tuesday, former Sen. Hank Brown, R-Colo., said that "four years ago, the president was able to fool a number of our college students into supporting his campaign and the result has been the highest level of unemployment for youth in our country’s recorded history." That was a day after the Obama for America campaign held a press call to highlight the need to keep student loans affordable, and to criticize Romney's economic plan, which would cut education funding.
To date, young Obama supporters are much more passionate about their candidate than young Romney supporters, the poll found. Seventeen percent of respondents said they’d be very likely to volunteer for the Obama campaign if asked, and 35 percent said they’d be somewhat likely to pitch in. Only 5 percent of respondents said they’d be very likely to volunteer for Romney, and 27 percent said they’d be somewhat likely.