Skip to comments.Among Young Voters, Obama's Campaign Magic Fades
Posted on 12/11/2010 5:15:02 PM PST by neverdem
In the days after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Kevin Hollinshead hoped the president would become a leader reminiscent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- capable of steering the country out of a massive economic crisis while taking on his sharpest critics. But Hollinshead, a senior at Colorado State University, now feels that the president has ceded too much to his Republican opposition and failed to live up to the ideals of his campaign.
"They've decided that he's public enemy No. 1, and they'll do whatever it takes to ruin him," Hollinshead said of Republicans in Congress. "And rather than push back, Obama has a tendency to make all these concessions," he added, citing the lack of a public option in the new health care law and the president's compromise with Republicans this week to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to all earners, including the wealthy. Hollinshead is one of many college-aged Americans who have begun to pull back their support for the president in recent months. According to an October poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics, 49 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 approve of the president's job performance, down from 58 percent a year ago. The decline has been even sharper among college students. An October AP-mtvU poll reported that 44 percent of college students approve of the president's job performance, down from 60 percent in May 2009.
Those new percentages reflect a significant shift from the election in 2008, when young Americans turned out in record numbers to help elect Obama. According to CIRCLE, an organization that tracks the youth vote, voters aged 18 to 25 preferred Obama over his opponent, Sen. John McCain, by a margin of 68 percent to 30 percent.
In 2008, Obama's campaign made a point of courting young voters and organizers through new media platforms like YouTube and Facebook. The campaign also used the Internet to build a vast network of small donors, which helped it to fund advertising in traditionally Republican states.
This fall, Obama staged a series of rallies on college campuses in an attempt to channel some of the enthusiasm for his campaign into votes for Democrats in the midterm elections. But the effort appeared to come up short. Only 20.4 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots last month.
For at least some of the young people who voted for Obama, the past two years have been characterized by steady disillusionment in the wake of a campaign filled with soaring rhetoric and sweeping, but occasionally vague, promises of change.
"I think a lot of people got too excited with anticipation," said Alex Flynn, 21, of Lexington, Ky., referring to the months leading up to the presidential election. "I was probably more excited then because, politics aside, it was a historic moment for the country."
For now, however, the excitement has worn off. "I don't have these illusions of grandeur that he's going to get everything done that he's promised," Flynn said.
"I think everyone really liked him and looked up to him, especially during the election campaign," said Jil Hellmann, 24, of Osnabrück, Germany, who moved to Dallas in 2009. "To me, looking back on how he displayed himself, he was like this white canvass, and everyone projected their ideas onto him."
But in August, when Obama qualified his support for the controversial Islamic community center planned near ground zero softening his initial statement after it caused a political uproar Hellmann began to think the president was unwilling to stand by his values.
On the left, the critique that Obama has wavered too easily on core progressive principles was addressed by the president with uncharacteristic emotion during his press conference this week on the new tax cut deal.
"This is the public option debate all over again," Obama said, responding to criticisms that he should have rejected compromise with Republicans on tax cuts for top income earners. "I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans... but because there was a provision in there that they didn't get that would have affected maybe a couple million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people... that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise."
Jeffry Burnam, a visiting professor of government at Georgetown University, believes that if Obama hopes to win back support in any demographic, the economy must improve first.
"I think it's basically the economy," Burnam said about the cause of the president's declining approval rating. "I think he over-promised, and he didn't deliver the results he had indicated with the stimulus bill."
I’m witnessing this transition among some of my douche bag fellow college students. Funny, they thought Obama and Keynesian economics were “like totally cool...like” in 2009.
Now these little dipshi*s can’t find a job, and theyre really understanding what wealth distribution is all about now that it’s personally affecting them.
Many times reality is the best medicine for young pampered Socialists!
'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'
That also applies to those ignorant of the past.
"Kevin Hollinshead hoped the president would become a leader reminiscent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt"
So, as I see it, Mr. Hollinshead got his wish.
More socialism, bigger government, massive spending, no recovery - just like FDR's first two years.
In fact, the country didn't recover from the FDR era depression until the advent of World War II.
Let's pray it doesn't take another World War to end the Obama Depression.
May 51% be as you described ... with the Fair Tax or Flat Tax you can bump the % because everyone will have skin in the game.
Sad but true most folks don’t have a clue
Reality bites hard when you graduate with no job prospects and are required to start paying back those student loans.
Congratulate your douche bag fellow college students for waking up to reality too late. My generation adored Jimmy Carter for the same superficial, idiotic reasons and helped elect Ronald Reagan just four years later.
And to think, it’s only taken them the better part of two years to finally, kinda sorta (but not really) catch on. Even though Obama began displaying clear and obvious signs of massive, draw-dropping incompetence from, literally, day one. (E.g. issuing an executive order declaring that Gitmo would be closed in one year, without ever bothering with normal executive procedures like an interdepartmental review, or even consulting informally with his cabinet, or bothering to so much as glance at the documents generated by the Bush administration’s own thorough inter-agency review of the same issue.)
So they graduated ignorant, but now they’ve gotten an education.
Bravo. Well said. This man must go. By any means under providence or the law.
I guess they cherrypicked the people they interviewed. Obama didnt do enough. He compromised too much. He let the Republicans tell him what to do.
Oh, sure. Thats the problem. He should have stuck to his support of the Ground Zero Mosque and refused to even TALK to those dirty Republicans.
I have questioned seven of my leftist friends. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY THINK. This country is becomeing so polarized that civil war will be impossible to avoid
These young leftists wanted a Joseph Stalin.
It’s only a matter of time before they finally get one and there won’t be disappointment.
Wait till they try to get a job. Their support will really plummet then.
What these dumbasses don’t get is that the crap oscumbag promised is unworkable. Case in point: Gitmo.
I guess these morons have no clue as to which party has had complete control of congress and the executive branch for two years now. All the Repubs could have stayed in their districts and their states and nothing would be different legislatively speaking.
Obama is a great example of the people, “getting the government they deserve”
“Short attention spans. To them, Obama is old news. Theyve moved on to the next big thing.”
Unfortunately for them the next big thing was unemployment.
In their efforts to be progressive, the Dems and the mass media elected a black president. Which to them was enough to be qualified.
In their haste, they have done more damage than good to blacks in America.
They raised an inexperienced Chicago organizer to mythical status...and this result should not be a surprise to anyone.
Better to have waited for an experienced, more qualified candidate. This lesson applies to the GOP as well.
This is the inevitable result of placing ideology over merit. Everybody loses.