In 2008, college campuses were abuzz with Obama fever, as students volunteered for campaigns and phone drives in record numbers. This year, much of that enthusiasm looks to be gone, but Obama can likely still expect to win handily in the late-teens/early-20s crowd.
Six straight years of falling earnings for your most loyal supporters is nothing to brag about, and it seems unlikely that many of the college students who turned out for Obama in 2008 were looking forward to years of living in mom and dad’s basement and scrimping to repay their student loans.
The problem isn’t that President Obama doesn’t care about young people, We think he does and that he was and is sincere when he speaks of his hopes for them. But the forces driving down wages for young college grads (and driving up college tuition) can’t be addressed by the policy mix that the White House supports.
Young voters, like voters of all ages, face a tough choice this fall: between a President whose policies haven’t (yet) worked, and a candidate whose proposals often look vague and unconvincing. The only thing that’s crystal clear is that Obamamania isn’t as compelling as it used to be, even among the young.