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Can Obama re-capture the youth vote?


The National Journal weighs in today:

The Great Recession took a sledgehammer to young job-seekers. As a Rutgers University study released this week reported, only half -- 51 percent -- of college graduates since 2006 are employed full-time. Eleven percent of them, the study found, are unemployed -- a figure well above the national rate of 8.1 percent. Another 12 percent are working part-time.

Imagine, then, the difficulty that other young people, those without the advantage of a college education, face in trying to find a job. Avoiding unemployment isn’t easy for most in this job market, but the struggles are acute for men and women younger than 30.

Their hardship explains President Obama’s dilemma this November. The White House incumbent enjoyed the overwhelming enthusiasm of young voters in 2008, winning them by a two-to-one margin over Republican John McCain -- an incredible edge even for a group that usually leans left. But replicating that success could prove difficult when so many of those same voters are beset by personal financial difficulty.

To do so, the Obama campaign might have to rely on a culturally oriented pitch, one that can tout the president’s support of same-sex marriage. That’s not necessarily a losing strategy, because many young people strongly identify with the president’s views. But it’s also one that Republicans bet won’t be enough to prevent them from making inroads on Election Day.

“On the question of whether Team Obama can replicate the success, the answer is unequivocally, absolutely not,” said Paul Conway, a veteran GOP operative and president of Generation Opportunity, a right-of-center group that seeks to engage young people in politics.

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