Can the 'youth vote' carry Obama to victory again?

High turnout and passionate support among young voters helped carry Obama to victory in 2008. But can he count on them four years later? reports from the University of Virginia campus on Election Day.


In 2008, Barack Obama coasted to victory in part thanks to high turnout among young Americans, who showed up eager to cast a ballot for the rare politician to inspire them.

Out of the 12.5 million 18-24 year-olds who voted in that historic election, Obama won a resounding two-thirds.

One of the many question marks looming over the 2012 election is whether the president can come close to matching those levels of turnout and support among young voters, many of whom are disillusioned – particularly with an economy that, despite improvement, has remained sluggish.

A poll released in mid-October by Harvard’s Institute of Politics showed Obama beating Mitt Romney 55%-36% in the fight for the “youth vote”. But there was bad news for the president: only 48% of young adults said they would “definitely” vote, and Romney’s young supporters were more likely to show up to the polls on Election Day.

In a nail-biter of a race that looks to be breaking ever so slightly in Obama’s direction in the final stretch, pundits are watching closely to see if and how young Americans vote on Tuesday. was on the University of Virginia campus the evening before and day of the election to gauge the mood of this key segment of the electorate.

Here is what we found.


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