President Obama’s got problems for 2012. Sure, he just hauled in a record $86 million in cash. But the fundraising success masks a very big issue: Obama has lost the youth vote — he just isn’t trendy any more. Which is good news for Republicans: President Untrendy gives us a better chance to win. As a generation of media-encouraged Obama idealists has turned economic realists, Republicans can appeal to this age bracket to take the prize next year.
Political campaigns have historically discounted the importance of the youth vote — for good reason, generally, as young voters have tended not to show up on Election Day. Obama has changed that dynamic, perhaps permanently. The Millennial generation, meaning 18-to-29-year-olds — whom I wrote about a few weeks back — mattered in the 2008 election because Obama’s campaign recognized and exploited them. His campaign team engaged them through ground-breaking use of social media and grassroots outreach. It worked. Youth voted for Obama by a margin of 2 to 1, and 3 million more new voters visited the polls than in 2004. The Millennials accounted for 18 percent of the vote, and it was the third consecutive presidential election with increased youth turnout.
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