Although Obama’s election campaign in 2008 was buoyed by the support of millions of passionate young voters across the country, polls leading up to Election Day in 2012 have painted a different picture. While many Americans aged 18-25 are still in favor of the current president, support levels in that age group have declined significantly, even among those who campaigned tirelessly for the candidate during the last presidential race.
“I was all about supporting Obama during the previous election,” said Jill Davis, 23, who volunteered at a Florida campaign field office in 2008. “But at this point I’m not sure I’ll even vote for him.”
Davis acknowledged that she’s grateful that the passage of the Affordable Care Act has allowed her to remain on her parents’ health insurance plan, and that she appreciates Obama’s efforts to make student loans more affordable and fair.
“I guess it’s also cool that he signed that Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and I appreciate his unwavering support of women’s reproductive rights,” she said. “And of course I’m glad Bin Laden is dead and everything– I just feel like Obama hasn’t made me personally feel like he appreciates me and everything I did for him the last time around.”
As evidence of this, Davis noted that President Obama has refused to follow her back on Twitter, has not personally friended her on Facebook, and to her knowledge has never visited either her cooking blog or her Tumblr.
“Unless he’s been there, but just never commented or anything,” she added.
Other ambivalent younger voters have expressed similar concerns.
“It’s not that I’m not into Obama anymore,” said Josh Wallace, a twenty-four year old Northampton, MA resident who spent months canvassing for the candidate in 2008. “I more feel like he’s not really that into me anymore, so whatever.”
Wallace noted that although was excited by Obama’s creation of the Consumer Protection Agency, and admires the President’s support of the Dream Act, there are other, more personal ways in which Obama has fallen short of his expectations during the last four years.
For example, he described how, during the previous month, his intramural roller-hockey league had played the most important game of their season, against the best team in the league.
“I really wanted President Obama to come out to support us during that game, the way I’d supported him in 2008,” he said. “It was just so, so important to me, and I figured he had to know that. The whole time we were playing, I kept looking into the stands, hoping to see him there– but he never showed up.”
Scuffing the ground with a sneakered toe, Wallace added, “So I’m just not sure I want to vote for him again this year. Since Obama hasn’t done anything to make me personally feel special and important, why should I do anything for him?”