As national attention focuses on the devastation inflicted on Atlantic states by megastorm Sandy, polls show the same basic electoral reality that has prevailed throughout the presidential campaign: Without a strong turnout among young voters, President Barack Obama loses on Nov. 6.
So, Obama may need more than fiery “go vote!” entreaties to students to overcome his presidency’s disorganized, mixed record on youth issues.
New polls taken nationally and in key swing states (Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Nevada and Wisconsin) show how crucial young voters are to the president’s reelection. Obama leads Republican challenger Mitt Romney among 18- to 29-year-olds by landslide margins, more than offsetting the mildly pro-Romney sentiments of their elders.
In Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Wisconsin under-30 voters support Obama by margins of 24, 25, 25, and 36 points, respectively. Wide as his 20-point lead among young voters nationally is, however, it’s far narrower than his 34-point victory margin among the young in the 2008 election — which he won handily.
Recent polls also reveal that young voters, previously considered apathetic, now express more enthusiasm for voting than older constituents. In Colorado, 67 percent of 18- to 29-year-old voters report being “very excited” about the election, as do 69 percent in Ohio, 72 percent in North Carolina and an astounding 93 percent in Nevada. Voters age 30 and older in those states are considerably less enthusiastic.