But generally, the ranks have thinned for college Democrats, many of whom said in interviews that they’ve been getting about half as many like-minded students to their meetings and campaign trips as they did in 2008.
Whereas 70 percent of students said they “definitely” planned to vote in 2008, only 35 percent said they’ll do so this year, according to a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll. And even in 2008 there was a fairly large discrepancy between those who said they were going to vote and those who actually did — about 51 percent.
Other polls suggest Obama’s star power has simply diminished among students. What was a 60 percent approval rating in May 2009 is now 44 percent, according to an Associated Press-mtvU survey from late September.
Young people also are marching to the right, identifying with Democrats at just a 9-point margin over Republicans, a Rock the Vote poll from late August reported. In 2008, that margin was twice as big.