“It will take a decade before they believe in hope and change,” said GOP pollster Ed Goeas. Worse, he said, younger voters are “disillusioned” with Obama and have turned “cynical” of his rhetoric.
He recently traveled to Raleigh, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio, to conduct focus groups with voters aged 18-29 who backed Obama in 2008. He found them gravely concerned about unemployment, the economy and gas prices. “They are very decidedly unhappy,” he said.
Mostly, they are upset that the president didn’t make good on his promises. “There is no belief that the economy is getting better,” he found.
Goeas was part of a group of pollsters that conducted focus groups with former Obama supporters for the GOP analyst outfit Resurgent Republic. Typical of the comments he collected for a report on the focus groups was one from a North Carolina voter who said that Obama “promised the moon and could not even deliver the upper atmosphere.”
Employment is the key issue among younger voters and he said that half of his focus group said they were under- or unemployed. “Underemployment is a major theme,” said Goeas.
The price of gas is also a bummer for the younger voters. “Gas prices can kind of be the last straw,” said Goeas.
The findings are not good news for Obama’s reelection campaign, and the president’s team knows it. Getting younger voters enthused to show up at the polls in the fall is a key strategy. In 2008, he won two-thirds of the vote.