You know things are bad when one of your key demographics think you’re performing poorly. That’s the problem the Obama’s reelection campaign is facing right now, as a new Resurgent Republic focus group memo shows.
In four different focus groups held with swing state voters (two in Raleigh, N.C. and two others in Columbus, Ohio), one thing was obvious: young American voters are not satisfied with the president. They are disheartened with the direction of the country and disappointed with how reality clashed with expectations when Obama took the Oval Office.
Most of the young voters in the group said they thought the economy was not getting any better and are especially aware of the prevalence of real unemployment and underemployment. Underemployment is a particularly important issue with these voters as they finish school, emerge into the workforce and are often forced to take jobs below their skill level.
And it doesn’t stop there. Among those in the focus groups, the rising national debt and growing deficit were huge issues as well. Young Americans have come to terms with the fact that they will be the ones who have to pay down the debt. They recognize the need for spending reforms and see the debt as a hindrance to economic growth in the future.
That’s a lot of dimly-perceived issues for a president seeking reelection to deal with, especially on that largely got his first term thanks to the youth vote – and that’s not even including their dismay over gas prices.
So what’s Obama to do? Well, try and make young Americans all about him again, of course.
The Obama campaign recently launched “Gen44,” a program designed to allegedly cultivate a new legion of young Democratic leaders, but, as is exemplified in the name – a reference to Obama as the 44th President of the United States – it is also an attempt to draw in and rally young voters once more around Barack Obama.
“We won in 2008 because we didn’t play the same old game with the same old players. That’s how we’re gonna win in 2012,” Obama said in a campaign video introducing Gen 44. “The best advocate for this campaign isn’t me. It’s you.”
It’s another of the slick media ploys we’ve seen Obama’s reelection campaign roll out in recent months. But as Resurgent Republic’s study reminds us, Obama will have to do more than launch another targeted website if he wants to win back the support among young voters he won four years ago.