Young voters are tuning out the 2012 presidential campaign and fewer have registered to vote than four years ago, when young adults were a key element of Barack Obama’s coalition. But several factors could limit Mitt Romney’s ability to benefit from those trends, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.
The study found, for example, that the drop-off in young-voter engagement in this year’s election has been even greater among those who plan to vote Republican than it is among Democrats. At the same time, moderate Republicans of all ages are less engaged. That tends to mitigate the potential effect on Obama’s prospects by the drop in enthusiasm among his younger supporters, Pew’s analysis concluded. In addition, other parts of the Obama base — especially African Americans — remain strongly engaged.
Additional findings in the analysis include:
Young-voter registration is down. Only half of voting-age Americans younger than 30 are absolutely certain that they are registered to vote, the independent organization’s polls have found. That compares with registration levels of 61 percent in 2008 and 57 percent in 2004. Those “figures will have to shift decidedly over the coming month” if young voters are to come close to matching the levels from recent presidential elections, the analysis concludes.