Thirty-eight percent of the young voters responding the Hiram College survey say President Obama has performed below their expectations.
But that leaves nearly six-in-10 saying he’s performing at or above their expectations. And when you talk to young voters like 26-year-old Kent Sate nursing student Danielle Seeman, many of them are calling for more time for Mr. Obama.
“He promised a lot and it’s slowly happening. But, … he’s the president, he’s not a dictator. He can’t just click his fingers and make things happen.
In 2008, President Obama beat John McCain by 33 percentage points among young voters. The latest Hiram poll shows he has a 13 point lead over likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Jason Johnson is a political science professor at Hiram who’s working on the year-long study of young voters:
“Yes, his lead among young voters has dropped, but realistically speaking, he was not going to keep a 33-point lead amongst young voters and this hasn’t been so much an issue of Mitt Romney gaining ground as much as it is Obama losing ground compared to his own success in 2008,” Johnson says.
But not all the calls for patience are necessarily a hearty endorsement of Mr. Obama.
This November will be a first national election for 18-year-old Noor Ramahi. She’s a life sciences major who has enough credits to already qualify as a junior.
“People are disappointed (in Mr. Obama) because they really aren’t hearing everything, they don’t really know exactly what’s going on. I think he’s been really busy with the healthcare bill and all that. I guess, in a way, he made some promises that he did not keep. But I think for him to fulfill those promises, he needs to stay in office for four more years.”
Still, Ramahi says Mr. Obama is her second choice. If she had her druthers, she’d pick Ron Paul.
The survey is of registered voters, so it leaves out people like Pete Araps and Tushar Patel – nursing students at Kent.
“I wish I was more informed. I wish I would be willing to pay attention to it more,” says Araps. “(But) it’s just not something that has come about in my life yet.”
“It’s, in a way, hard I guess to just sit there and watch the politics over and over,” adds Patel. “Should I pay attention? Probably, because being in the health care industry, … they’re always talking about healthcare and how they can improve or affect us. … But, it gets boring.”
Still, for the survey respondents, even if politics is boring, it’s relevant.
The young voters think Democrats are more likely to create entry-level jobs, make education more affordable and to keep Social Security and Medicare around for Generation Y. Republicans are more likely to help America compete globally and bring down the deficit.
And the Hiram College survey shows they’re optimistic about the future of the country and the benefits of a college degree.
Here's a summary of the June results provided by Hiram College:
1. President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 13 points among registered voters surveyed (and by 14 points among likely voters). While Obama is doing better among young voters than he is among voters nationally (an average of nationwide surveys now give Obama a 1-2 point lead), his advantage over Romney is much smaller than his Election Day performance in 2008, when he defeated John McCain by 33% among voters under 30.
These data provide strong evidence that Obama has important work to do to shore up his support among younger voters––this is especially true among white voters under 30, a constituency Obama now loses by 6 points.
2. The Democratic Party is now viewed favorably by 56% of voters under 30, the same as it was in the January survey.
It should be noted that 50% of independents view the Democratic Party favorably.
3. The Republican Party is now viewed favorably by 42% of young voters, that’s down 3 points since January.
It should be noted that 33 percent of independents view the Republican Party favorably.
4. A majority of voters surveyed, 57%, say Obama has met or exceeded their expectations as President while 38% say he’s fallen below expectations.
5. The Democratic Party is clearly seen as the party that best understands the problems of people under 30.
The Democratic Party is also clearly seen as the party that will make education more affordable; the party that will make sure Social Security and Medicare will be available for Generation Y; and the party that has the best plans to create jobs for young people entering the work force.
On which party has the best policies to improve the economy, however, Democrats have a narrow 3-point lead over Republicans.
Republicans are seen as the party that will best protect America’s ability to compete with other countries around the world and as the party that will bring down the federal budget deficit.
6. Voters surveyed are consistently split on who has the ability to strengthen the economy and create jobs:
Obama and Romney tie, as do the two parties.
A slightly greater amount of young voters (+4 percent) say small businesses over large businesses and 6% more say government over private business.
7. Voters under 30 are much more optimistic about nation’s future than pessimistic, although the level of optimism (now 63%) is down a little from January, when it was 68%.
Democrats are more optimistic (73%) than Republicans (52%) and independents (59%).
8. Respondents were a little less optimistic about the future of the economy than the future of the country in general (58% vs. 63%).
9. 87% of voters under 30 believe a college degree gives people a better chance to make more money –– although only 45% said a “much” better chance while 42% said a “little” better chance. Only 11% said it would not give them a better chance.
10. 85% of voters under 30 believe a college degree gives people a better chance of having a meaningful career that uses their best talents ––50% said a “much” better chance while 35percent said a “little” better chance.
11. 72% of voters under 30 believe that by the time they retire it is likely that the Social Security system won’t be able to pay full retirement benefits––43% said “very” likely while 29% said “fairly” likely.
12. A majority of voters surveyed (57%) oppose universal public service while 36%, especially blacks, Democrats, and respondents in the South, support it.