The college vote is up for grabs this year — to an extent that would have seemed unlikely two years ago, when a generation of young people seemed to swoon over Barack Obama.
Though many students are liberals on social issues, the economic reality of a weak job market has taken a toll on their loyalties: far fewer 18- to 29-year-olds now identify themselves as Democrats compared with 2008.
“Is the recession, which is hitting young people very hard, doing lasting or permanent damage to what looked like a good Democratic advantage with this age group?”
A jobless reality in the wake of failed stimulus programs that have hardly slowed the decline in the unemployed rate seems to be getting the attention of those on college campuses.
Many students, especially seniors nearing graduation, said that worries about the economy, and about getting a job after graduation, had filtered through the campus, dampening enthusiasm for Democrats in Congress and Mr. Obama.