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Government and Politics

Young voters still support Obama
But support for President has slipped since 2008
This story is part of a special series.

Kabir Bhatia
In The Region:
A new poll of shows that half of 18- to 29-year-olds view President Obama favorably.  WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia has more on the read on young voters heading into this year’s presidential election.
Young voters still support Obama

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The year-long “Listening to Young Voters” project shows that the president’s favorable rating is 4 percentage points higher among voters under 30 than it is overall.

The study by the Garfield Institute for Public Leadership at Hiram College also says that young voters are frustrated by political leaders’ ability to affect change.  They are also more likely to be Democrats, and give Democrats the edge in understanding their problems – including making college more affordable and creating jobs for young people. 

Hiram professor Jason Johnson says the study stands out from other research because the target demographic is usually left out of political dialogue.

“We take a look at 18- to 29-year-olds… full-time students, full-time working, and those who are both working and in school.  Twenty-two-years-old and 15 minutes out of college looking for a job is completely different from 22-years-old and 4 years out of high school looking for a job.  And I think those voters are also going to be an important swing group in this fall’s election.”

Johnson says young voters expect a candidate to make a difference, and that includes President Obama.

“We show in the survey that his approval rating among 18 to 29 year olds dropped from 66 percent in 2008 to 50 percent now.  So Obama’s got some work to do.  But I think Mitt Romney has even more, because there's very little in his policies.  He speaks a lot about what a 45-year-old woman who's been out of work needs to do, but he doesn't speak a lot about what a 25-year-old who's trying to get into the work force needs to do.  And that's going to be a key issue.  Also one of the reasons you heard Obama talking in the State of the Union address about what to do about college tuition.”

The survey also shows that young voters do not think highly of either the Tea Party or the Occupy Wall Street movements.  And they would like to see an independent candidate run for president.
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