Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney closed the gap with younger voters, but his failure to do more to woo college students and recent graduates cost him the election, according to a leading conservative youth group, American Majority.
"Romney would have won the election had he won just 45 percent of the youth vote," according to the group's spokesman Ron Meyer. Instead he took just 37 percent. And while the percentage was more than Sen. John McCain won in 2008, it wasn't enough.
"I think the economy helped close the gap, but our youth efforts were meager," he said of the GOP. He rapped Romney's campaign for failing to campaign hard on college campuses where President Obama was strong. He also hit Karl Rove's American Crossroads political action committee for spending $750,000 in it's "Generation Crossroads" project but not on campuses.
"We need our candidates and organizations on campus talking directly to students," he said.
In a memo, Meyer gave credit to President Obama for doing a better job wooing younger voters.
President Obama spent one out of every nine days of his first term on college campuses, and he made student loan debt and other youth issues centerfold is his campaign (even if the policies were wrong). Mitt Romney ignored college campuses and refused to champion youth issues. On student loans and youth health care, Romney actually said he agreed with Obama which gave young people little reason to vote for him over Obama.
The Romney campaign also refused to set up any youth get-out-the-vote efforts. The Romney campaign used college students and thousands of young Americans as campaign volunteers--but had them spend all their time off-campus.
The path to a youth vote victory existed for conservatives. Youth unemployment and underemployment were off the chart, tuition had risen 25 percent, and Obamacare were set to spike youth health insurance prices 45 percent. Why didn't Romney or any of the major PACs focus on tying these stats to Obama?