What’s Happening with the Youth Vote in Election 2012

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The youth vote in 2008 went overwhelmingly for President Obama. Fortunately, for those of us who didn’t support the liberal agenda, 2012 is a different year. Only the “Kool-Aid” crowd buys into the previous hype that Obama is “cool and confident,” and the catch phrase of “hope and change” has been replaced with “forward.” Forward to what? More debt? We students can’t even afford to put gas in our tank to get to class. Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan poignantly stated in his RNC speech, “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

Obama proved not to have the leadership skills required to rev up the economy and make it possible for us college graduates to pay our tuition. He didn’t institute policies that enabled businesses to expand so that we could get the jobs for which we studied. When Obama took office, the tuition for an in-state four-year college was $4,585. The tuition for an in-state college is now $8,244 – up 25 percent

These changes didn’t happen overnight. In April of 2009, Obama said, “Over the past few decades, the cost of tuition at private colleges has more than doubled, while costs at public institutions have nearly tripled. Compounding the problem, tuition has grown ten times faster than a typical family’s income, putting new pressure on families that are already strained and pricing far too many students out of college altogether.” If he recognized the plight, why did he focus on healthcare? This is the president who claims to be helping students; what has he done to address the problems that he accurately identifies?

What has been done since that statement? While the President is slamming “big business,” what is he doing about the larger-than-life tuition at big universities? The situation that the President describes plays a significant role in the fact that people like me had to hold three jobs during college in order to make minimum payments to the school. Is he hampered in reversing the tuition trends because he is a member of the liberal elite professorial class? The cold, hard fact is that tuition and taxes pay for tenure – which makes it possible for professors to strike.

Tuition costs increased by 15 percent during the first two years of the Obama Administration. The September unemployment numbers for Millennials people under the age of 30 is at 12 percent. Oh, but the “real unemployment” is actually at 16.6 percent – the 7.8 percent figure the Obama camp is touting doesn’t include those who have stopped looking for work or those who are working part-time while seeking full-time employment.

The Pew Research Center found that nearly a quarter (24 percent) of adults aged 18-34 have moved back in with their parents after having lived on their own due to the economic downturn. Even those who have not had to move back in with their parents (fully 63 percent of the age cohort) say they know someone who did have to move back home because of the economy. More than seven out of ten young adults who are living at home report having a friend or family member who moved back home in recent years. Close to a third (29 percent) of parents of adult children state their child has moved home because of the economy. This situation hits people in all aspects of the socio-economic scale; parents with incomes from $30,000 to $100,000 or more are equally likely to be greeted by their child at their door asking to move back home.

The Harvard Institute of Politics suggests that youths favoring Mitt Romney in the 2012 election are 10 percent more likely to show up to the polls compared to those who would vote for Obama. Granted, American Millennials as a whole, favor the President by a 31 point margin, but if they don’t come out to vote, the huge advantage will be irrelevant.

In 2008, Obama won the youth vote by a wider margin than any Democratic nominee in the last three decades, but the electorate only increased by one percentage point (to 18 percent). Even though fewer than one-in-five presidential ballots were from those ages 18 to 29, Obama needs their vote more than Romney. According to Pew, the number of Millennials saying that they definitely plan to vote is only 63 percent of registered Millennial-age voters which is down from 72 percent in 2008.

Millennials are disenchanted. There is an old saying that applies to the Millennial demographic that has been such a reliable voting bloc for the Democratic Party, “If you’re young and a Republican, you have no heart, but if you’re old and a Democrat, you have no brain.” While I might disagree with the assessment that my generation lacks a heart, I can only hope that those who voted for Obama in 2008 and are now sleeping in their childhood bed staring at the faded “Hope” poster are thinking, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

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