Why young voters should and probably will vote against Obama
posted at 2:28 pm on September 27, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
“Ask not what your country can do for you,” John F. Kennedy famously counseled. “Ask what you can do for your country.” When it comes to the youth vote, Barack Obama’s actions over the past four years suggests he has modified the last half of that quote to read, “Ask (again) what you can do for me.”
In 2008, an untested Obama asked voters under 30 to get behind his efforts to fundamentally transform America. They answered affirmatively at the polls by supporting him by a margin of 66% to 32% over his GOP challenger, John McCain What Obama has done for them since is equally measurable. In the three and one half years that he has been in office, the number of 16-to 24-year-olds who were gainfully employed has shrunk from 56% down to 48.9%. In the last 12-month period, unemployment among Millenials as a whole has never been lower than 16% and in the recent months has been headed back up toward 17%.
Obama will tell youth voters that he has done plenty for them. He’s right if a measure of that claim is honoring them with his presence at colleges and high schools around the country. As the graphic shows, he and members of his of administration in the 18-month period between February 2011 and July 2012 made a total of 437 visits to these and similar youth-targeted venues. The majority—and in some cases all—of the costs associated with these trips was assumed by you, the taxpayer.
He and his surrogates would argue that among his specific initiatives on Millennials’ behalf is his making it possible for them to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they are 26. Obama would add that he has promised to take steps to lower interest rates on student loans.
All of which demonstrates that during the many visits to campuses the president has made, he has talked but he hasn’t listened. If he had, he would have heard loud and clear the message that young voters feel he has reneged on his part of the contract they entered into in 2008. What they want is not more comfortable quarters in their parents’ basements. They want meaningful jobs that reflect the hard work and dedication they put in through years of schooling. Young grads want to know how to break into the world of work, and they don’t mean by flipping burgers until the economy eventually recovers.
They have been paying attention, and they don’t like what they see or hear coming out of this White House. A survey released by the vast youth empowerment movement known as Generation Opportunity offers a wakeup call for both candidates, but especially the president. Among the findings are that:
- 54% believe of youths believe America is on the wrong track, while only 24% feel the U.S. is headed in the right direction.
- More than 50% are pessimistic about the country’s future, and 61% say that their vote in November will be reflection of a candidate’s record, not charisma.
Millennials have been educating themselves on the issues and have opinions. When it comes to the economy and federal spending:
- 89% say the current state of the economy is impacting their day-to-day lives, and 77% report delaying major life changes due to economic restraints.
- 66% are worried about the U.S. financial debt, and 71% have grave concerns about the deficit.
- Two thirds also believe that money spent on Social Security would be safer under their pillows than in the hands of the U.S. Treasury.
- 69% believe the federal government is not making enough sacrifices right now.
These young voters are acutely aware that paying back the massive debt being run up by this administration will become their and their children’s responsibility. They realize that actions over the past four years have forced them to defer their dreams while the Obama White House has elected to defer its debt onto their shoulders.
Here is one more Generation Opportunity stat that the president may want to pay close attention to, this one of the swing state of Ohio: 81% of Buckeye State Millennials say they plan to vote in the election for president this year.
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