As candidates gear up for the 2012 elections, countles articles have been written predicting how Obama’s young supporters in the 2008 election will vote now. An article in the Huffington Post, “Can Obama Keep The Youth Vote Amid A Bleak Job Market?” investigates this question.
It’s not breaking news that recent graduates are struggling to find jobs. With large student loan debts and an increasingly competitive applicant pool, young people are taking any job they can get, many of which do not even require a college degree. Dim job outlooks have created a general lack of optimism among the youth population.
How will this affect to the upcoming election? Young voters are a large constituency to target, and, “According to US census data, 61 percent of millennials will have reached voting age—meaning that one out of every four potential voters, or 24 percent of the electorate, will have been born after 1980.” Obama’s messages of hope and change inspired young people in 2008 to care about the election. The 2012 campaign will take something equally or even more inspiring to get young people to the polls, and many predict this campaign will come down to one issue–jobs.
Although each person has a selfish interest to secure a job for themselves, now more than ever young people are thinking bigger. With the wealth of information available through technology, millennials are thinking about global development, environmental sustainability and where the US stands on the global stage. I think addressing jobs and the US economic situation are necessary, but engaging young people on topics they are passionate about as well will bring them out to vote.
How do you think the presidential candidates will engage youth in the upcoming campaigns? What issues are most important to you?