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College Students Disappointed by Obama, Crucial to 2012 Election

By January 3, 2011

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President Obama can't, and won't, be reelected in 2012 without fervent, fever-pitched support of college students and others under age 25.

I fear that because of their laser focus on D.C. political-process wrangling, the Obama administration will continue to overlook issues and policies that most affect young adults. Without high-energy motivation, U.S. college students historically don't show up to vote. And that would be devastating to Obama's 2012 prospects, just as it was for Democrats in the November 2010 elections.

The student vote was crucial to Barack Obama's 2008 victory. Wrote the student newspaper of Carnegie-Mellon University about Obama's election:

"... students who cast a vote in Tuesday's presidential election (or mailed in an absentee ballot) were part of the largest ever group in their age bracket to support a single candidate, and the second largest youth voter movement in American history...

"Sixty-six percent of young voters cast their ballot for Barack Obama, the largest-ever showing for a presidential candidate in this age group. Young people preferred Obama to John McCain by a two-to-one ratio, according to a survey of young voters conducted by Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan initiative dedicated to youth voters...

" 'Young people absolutely made the difference in this election,' said Erika Johansson, a project coordinator for Declare Yourself. 'Without them, he would have lost the election.'... oting increased in comparison to the last election by particularly large margins in precincts on college campuses."

At the beginning at 2011, the issues students and young voters most care about have been largely ignored, or poorly handled, thus far by the Obama administration, including:

  • Unemployment. College students are commonly graduating, often laden with debt, only to find no jobs. "The job market for recent college graduates is the bleakest it's been since 1983, forcing a generation that has basked in possibilities to contend with dwindling prospects," reported the Washington D.C. Examiner two weeks ago. Businessweek reported at length a few months ago that College Grads Flood U.S. Labor Market With Diminished Prospects.

  • The DREAM Act. College campuses across the nation were roiled by the failure of The DREAM Act to be passed by the Senate on December 18, 2010. And student populations, not just Latino students, suspect that President Obama's hands-on support for the bill was tepid, weak-kneed.

    Per a Princeton University study released two months ago, students from immigrant families comprise a larger than ever percentage of elite college students. "... we find that nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of students were either first-generation immigrants (born outside the United States to at least one foreign-born parent) or second-generation immigrants (born inside the United States to at least one foreign-born parent). By race, about two-thirds of Hispanic students and roughly nine-tenths of Asian students were first- or second-generation immigrants."

    The percentage of immigrant-family students attending state schools and community colleges traditionally is far higher than at elite private universities.

  • The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. War-making is never popular on college campuses, but continued U.S. occupation of Iraq and on-going U.S. fighting in Afghanistan are close to incomprehensible to young voters nationwide.

    Wrote a Firedoglake blogger about her teenage son lamenting Obama's broken promises, "By promises, he meant improving the economy and increasing jobs, as well as winding down the war in Iraq and getting out of Afghanistan. From his perspective, the war in Iraq has been forever; he can't remember a time when we didn't have troops there."

President Obama's dismal standing with college students was summed well by the Florida International University student newspaper:

"An Associated Press poll conducted last month which surveyed 2,027 randomly selected undergraduate students ages 18-24 showed that currently 44% of students support President Obama and 27% are unhappy with his overall performance.

" 'I feel there was a lot of hype about him, but he has failed to make significant change,' said Juan Ledesma, a junior at the University. A general loss of fervor for the 'change' campaign has ensued among many students. "He had us riding on his hope and change bandwagon, but he didn't pull through,' said Nick Hart, a junior majoring in psychology. 'There's been no change, just more of the same.'

"Frustration with Obama's handling of the economy, the progression of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, social reform befitting this generation's openness, health reform, importunate unemployment and the continuing existence of Guantanamo Bay, has dimmed collegiate approval for President Obama."

The steeply increasing cost of attending college wasn't even mentioned above, but weighs heavily on all college students and their families. "Faced with rising college costs and a struggling economy, families are paying for college by digging deeper, borrowing more and tightening their belt," reported FiscalTimes.com five months ago.

For Barack Obama to be reelected in 2012, not only must the President's approval rating among college students increase very substantially, but students must once again be excited by the promise of his candidacy... excited enough to flock to the polls in support of his agenda.

Without a sea change attitude among students, harsh reality is that Barack Obama will be a one-term president. I dearly hope the Obama administration is taking hard notice, and making the necessary adjustments to please its student-led political base.

So far, I detect only presidential focus on inside-the-beltway politics, which is a guaranteed one-way ticket back home to Chicago for Barack Obama.


January 3, 2011 at 11:51 pm
(1) Tim Bryson says:

I never understand people who would act against what they preceive to be their best interests because of their disappointment with “their guy/gal”.

Go ahead students…stay at home and see Sarah Palin get elected. Who’ll be crying then?

January 4, 2011 at 1:31 am
(2) Dan Schaffer says:

Palin would be no worse. With her you know you’re getting a religious nut job.

With Obama you got Bush’s 3rd term. Obama continued Bush’s giveaway of the Treasury to the banks, extended Bush’s tax cuts, continued Bush’s wars, continued the Reaganomics lies, and failed to deliver the stimulus that was needed. Ayman Al Zawahiri pretty much called it when he said Obama was an Uncle Tom.

January 4, 2011 at 3:40 am
(3) Geoff Pope says:

Will young people come out and vote for Obama like they did in 2008, I think so for three main reasons. The main reason has nothing to do with Obama but the fact that the Republicans might end up picking straws out of a hat searching for a formidable candidate to run against Obama. Palin, which seems to be leading the pack, would be an early gift for Obama if she indeed does run for president in 2012. Secondly the Republicans might have gained the majority in the House; but, the Tea Party has a strong agenda and they will be heard. Last but not least, many of us forget that Obama is still another Washington politician. I have to believe his hidden agenda includes regaining the Independent vote, hence compromising on the Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. Not only Independents but more importantly young people. That vote is vital for his re-election and I believe he knows that, which is why I’m sure he’ll do a much better job these next two years of selling all he’s accomplished than he did his previous two.
If all else fails, can you imagine Palin squaring off against Obama in a presidential race, let alone one on one debates. I’d rather not see it and if that did happen which is very possible; I’m sure the majority of young people and Americans in general will make the wise choice and re-election Obama.

January 5, 2011 at 1:46 am
(4) Veronica says:

I concur with you on this one, Tim. These people who tear down Obama for being a human who can only do so much within his power to save this country are like the fans who tear down celebrities when they inevitably fail to live up to their idealized images of them. Deliberately refusing to vote on Election Day won’t change things. It will only make them worse.

January 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm
(5) John Ballard says:

I’m with Dan on this one. Barack Obama the candidate and Barack Obama the president are not the same person. I remember well how tough he said it would be to correct the course of an aircraft carrier, but what we’ve seen happen is waaay short of what I would rate a vigorous course correction. Bernie Sanders wound my stem better in a few hours than the president has done in two years of soundbites and bonbons. I’m gonna watch and wait for a few more weeks to see if there will be any more “fire in the belly” but I must admit to low expectations.

The most hopeful indication for progress I have seen this afternoon is Tom Harkin’s persuasive argument to correct filibuster abuse in the Senate. While the House was doing theater he was on C-SPAN 2 driving home a serious procedural point that needs to be executed post haste. The latest White House wavering regarding final directives counseling is yet another finger-in-the-wind genuflection to the insanity that has given rise to the Tea Party insurgency and the ignorance and irrational fears that have gripped the whole GOP and a disturbing number of Democrats.

January 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm
(6) John Ballard says:

We don’t need trembling in the Oval Office. We need a set jaw and gritted teeth.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m one pissed and disappointed Liberal who is on the verge of looking for someone to challenge the president in the 2012 primaries. It is better to be defeated for principles worth holding than to compromise them to the point they no longer have meaning.

Jobs means work. Income. Paying taxes. And planning for one’s financial future.
Ours is no longer a manufacturing economy but a service economy. What that means is that when the service is no longer needed jobs disappear.
Unlike manufacturing which can pile up inventories until times get better and “demand returns,” service jobs are like ice sculptures or cake decorations. When the event is finished, the job is over. Done. Vanished. One cannot serve food except at meal time. When floors are cleaned there is no more work until they get dirty again. When the store closes, the need for clerks disappears… and when the self-service scanners displace the clerks (as they are doing all over America) even those poor-paying jobs vanish.

I could rant for hours like this. And unless and until somebody in the executive office starts confronting Congress in a way that puts voters on their asses, all I know to do is keep it up until I’m heard.

(Sorry, Deborah. Sometimes it just gets to be too much.)

January 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm
(7) marty says:

i think you guys would love youtube.com/ottomanempire99

June 11, 2011 at 2:18 am
(8) tlludwig says:

Obama is status quo. Why? Because the democratic and republican party is not really two parties but ONE party. They lead us to believe that they are two parties to keep us divided so in order to perpetuate their agenda.

Ron Paul is the best choice for 2012. He is the only candidate that doesn’t tow the party line and follows the Constitution. Granted he is running on the Republican ticket, however; only because no one can get elected in this country unless they are part of the two party system. They have monopolized the politics don’t allow “outsiders” (aka independents) into the political arena. Just look at what the DNC did to Ralph Nader–they kept him off the ballot in 18 states and bankrupted his campaign.

When you vote in 2012, judge each candidate based on his/her own merit–not based on party. No elephant, no donkey, vote EAGLE! If either party keeps your candidate off the ballot in the primary election, HAND WRITE your choice on your ballot. Do not let them pigeonhole your vote!

September 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm
(9) A Graduates Parent says:

This Admin’s Department of Labor has (perhaps illegally) made agreements (i.e. Treaties) with several S. American countries on illegal worker’s rights in the U.S.. The DOL sanc-tioned sessions, across our Nation, on how illegal immigrants can skirt our legal system via applying for INDIVIDUAL TAX ID NUMBERS (ITINs see article: http://godfatherpolitics.com/869/obama%e2%80%99s-job-plan-for-illegals-already-in-place/) thus allowing them to work without the need for SSNs.

Call your Reps. Thank them for allowing the DOL to aid, abet and harbor illegal immigrants within our borders. Thank them for robbing you of job opportunities and allowing those here (illegally) to have free access to jobs while you go without. Contact your local news sources as MSM will not tell the truth. The truth? Congress is the only entity allowed to enter into treaties with other Nations; Not the DOL! Is it any wonder U.S. citizens (and recent College Grads) cannot find jobs? And it is not only “jobs” “U.S.citizens will not do”! High-tech jobs that are on the line as well.

We have well-educated, unemployed College graduates! The POTUS recently appealed to the U of R yet he failed to reveal his admin provides incentives to Co’s hiring those holding H2-b visas over U.S. college grads. He failed to reveal his Admin hands out 135,000 visas/mo diluting the job market with competitors for the SAME jobs you’ve studied. At the time he’s smiling, waving, saying he “needs” your support, he needs” your vote. he “needs” you to call your Reps so he can continue to give YOUR “AMERICAN DREAM” away to those who are illegally here or on visas. Those here legally should have precedence AFTER U.S. citizens are given the opportun-ty at employment FIRST! Those here illegally should have no precedence.

Is this Admin’s Rx of our College Graduates “FAIR”? They speak of “fairness”. It’s past time for a paradigm shift. Copy, share and paste.

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