Poll: Romney closing gap in youth vote

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Record turnout among youth voters in 2008 was one of several factors helping Barack Obama win the White House.

President Obama is expected to win the youth vote again, but Mitt Romney appears to be closing the gap among young voters.

The Florida State University College Republicans are on campus in full force this election season. The club's chairman says concerns about jobs after graduation have students leaning toward the Republican presidential candidate.

"That's why everyone is gravitating here," said Matt Hoopfer. "Most of these people are a year or two out from graduating, and they want a career when they leave here."

Students were singing a different tune in 2008, when 66 percent of voters younger than 30 voted for Obama. A new poll shows youth support for the president dropping to 52 percent, compared to 35 percent for Romney, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

The drop in enthusiasm was apparent on FSU's campus Thursday. A steady stream of students visited the Republican booth, but one table over, a less ornate display for Obama went mostly unnoticed.

A mile down the road at Florida A&M University, students were more vocal.

"He needs a little bit more time to change the country," FAMU junior Kelly Jackson said of Obama. "You can't just tell somebody to clean up the mess within four years."

Romney's Florida Campaign chairman says the economy has killed enthusiasm for Democrats among college students.

"There's clearly not the campus movement, the student movement, and I think it's because they know that their employment opportunities have diminished in the last four years, not grown," said Adam Putnam.

Despite the shift, Obama is still expected to win the youth vote, but by a much smaller margin.

The poll from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement also says about 10 percent of youth voters still haven't settled on a presidential candidate.

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