Young voters: In Obama’s camp, but…

One of the questions that has dogged the Obama campaign — and likely heartened the Romney campaign — is whether young voters will turn out in the numbers they did in 2008.

This poll by the Harvard University Institute of Politics shows that 18- to 29-year olds are solidly in the Obama camp, 55% to 36% among likely voters. But it also indicates that voting enthusiasm is slipping, with 48% saying they will “definitely” vote.

The poll was conducted in the last weeks of September and first three days of October so it missed the three informative and entertaining debates.

It’s interesting how two of the larger newspaper played the poll results.

The New York Times — “For all the Republican efforts to cast President Obama as a failed leader who created a lost generation of young people with diminished prospects for financial success, Mr. Obama has maintained a strong advantage over Mitt Romney among the crucial constituency of young voters, slightly increasing his lead in polls since the spring. Despite the Romney campaign’s message that the “Obama economy” — specifically, the recession and the slow recovery — has been detrimental to young job seekers, Mr. Romney has made very limited gains since the spring among likely voters ages 18 to 29.”

The Washington Post — “President Obama enjoyed a historic advantage among young voters in 2008, but this year, he isn’t likely to win those voters by as wide a margin. What’s more, young voters’ share of the electorate could drop from the level it has been at during the last four presidential elections.”

Putting all that aside, there are some interesting results within the polling data about the sorts of things young voters are thinking about.

The latest Elon University Poll — released on Labor Day — showed that among likely voters age 18-30, 58% supported Obama and 34%, Romney. The sample was relatively small, though.

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