Can Obama 2012 inspire the same level of enthusiasm among young voters that Obama 2008 did? The president’s re-election campaign is not taking them for granted and this week launched an initiative to reconnect with young supporters who played a key role in Obama’s first White House bid.
The campaign launched an effort called “Greater Together” this week that will use social media sites to target students on college campuses in key states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania, USA Today reports. It includes a series of “Obama Student Summits,” the first of which will be held on November 2 in Philadelphia, with Mayor Michael Nutter and the president’s campaign manager, Jim Messina. The summits also will include Twitter questions and feedback on a live feed.
Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, daughter of Congressional Black Caucus member G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and former executive director of Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, will head the initiative.
Young adults are feeling helpless and more in need of change than ever in the current economic climate. Saddled with college debt and unable to find good jobs, many are forced to stay at home with their parents instead of striking out on their own. USA Today reports that the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds is 14.7 percent, and even higher for 18- to 19-year-olds at 23.3 percent. In 2008, 66 percent of voters under 30 supported Obama, but according to Gallup poll findings published on Oct. 7, that support has fallen below 50 percent.
“They’re loyal to institutions; they’re not loyal to candidates,” Democratic strategist Nathan Daschle told the publication. “He can disappoint them, and if they’re disappointed with him, they’re not going to vote.”
The good news for the Obama campaign is that approximately 16 million young adults who were too young to vote in 2008 may still harbor some hope for change.
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