Over the next few months, President Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney will go across the United States gearing up for the country’s elections in November. There are a number of key questions voters have, especially on the economy, as the nation’s employment rate remains steadily above eight percent. However, there is a key demographic that, like the election before it, will likely have an influence this election—the young people.
If you looked at previous elections, young people were not very keen on the idea of voting. Traditionally those ranging in age between 18 and 29 were likely to stay away from the polls, either because the understanding of issues was not that great, or they didn’t care. In 2008, President Obama was elected with the support of many young people at the core of his campaign. Four years later, it is a demographic he is looking to secure, but at the moment that demographic, like other national averages between himself and Romney, is in a very tight position.
A poll conducted by Hiram College in the Midwestern state of Ohio in June shows that Obama still maintains a lead when it comes to the youth vote, Obama had 50 percent of support from that demographic, compared to 37 percent for Romney. Whilst there was optimism expressed, the main issue however was on the economy and job creation, and the question on the minds of young voters was which plan could work. Congress remains divided with the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate having significant disagreements on where to move forward.
A key issue for the attention of the youth vote was that of subsidized Stafford student loans, a type of funding used by many students to attend university. The interest rates were due to go up to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent but were stopped a couple of days before a deadline of July 1st. The head of the project at Hiram College, Jason Garfield, said according to a report from the US political newspaper The Hill that the poll showed general optimism. “The survey shows that while there is general optimism for the future and support for the President among young people,” Johnson said. “It also shows that when asked about specifics on the economy and jobs, Romney and the Republicans have made significant gains.”
There is however some uncertainty by some young voters, and it is still early in the campaign. Obama and Romney have a few months to go to secure the support of young people as they pitch their ideas to the American public. Come November 6th, there could be a different picture or a similar picture to what is being seen now. All that is certain now is that the youth vote will be a vote worthy to track as the campaign reaches its climax.