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."
Short attention spans. To them, Obama is old news. They’ve moved on to the “next big thing”.
This reminds me of mornings when I woke up and realized that I had been over-served.
A whole bunch of whom have now graduated and are unemployed in obama's america. All that Hopenchange just never cut the mustard.
Obama is an enemy of America and all that she has stood for and accomplished. Half of us knew that before he was elected. Now many more are realizing it. Americans will not allow Obama to further drag our Country down...
Must be talking about GW!??
Ahhh, the glorious days of being a “young skull full of mush”.
Here is a definion of incompetence.
incompetence: lack of physical or intellectual ability or qualifications
Obama had ZERO experience. He had a lack of qualifications. Now everyone is surprised he has no idea what to do. It was all hype.
“To me, looking back on how he displayed himself, he was like this white canvass, and everyone projected their ideas onto him.”
No one knew what he was, except those like on FR who spent time trying to warn people. The MSM certainly wasn’t vetting him. They couldn’t see past their slobbering fascination with his color.
These young fools had no one to blame but themselves. They put into office a young, inexperienced incompetant with no record, and now they are all shocked and disappointed. Fools.
“And rather than push back, Obama has a tendency to make all these concessions,”
This cat is on crack! He either hasn’t learned a thing or he is dyed-in-the-wool liberal.
“but occasionally vague, promises of change”, this must be from the onion
Some have realized that Obama is a turd in a nice suit, but a turd nonetheless.
Go ahead, Obama...screw with the net and limit the ability to text. They will love ya, bub.
Hahahha Gopher it, I dare ya....
Growing up is hard to do. It begins with shattered idealism.
For Obama to win,
1. The economy has to return to AT LEAST pre 2008 levels
2. Obama has to leave Afghanistan and Iraq to please his base.
3. At the same time, Obama can’t be weak anymore (he failed this yesterday during the clinton presser.)
The morning of the election I stood in a long line waiting for the polls to open. There was a kid on a bicycle several people in front of me making small talk with some friends of his. The last thing he said before he took off was, “Well, I’m a street organizer for Obama so I better get going.”
My thought at the time was “What the hells a street organizer”. My thought today is. I doubt that “street organizer” will even vote in 2012.