Young conservative leaders say Republicans should not let Democrats and the left take young voters for granted. President Obama remains the favorite among younger voters, but polls suggest that youth enthusiasm for him has waned.
The president won the under 30 vote in 2008 by 68 percent to 30 percent for John McCain and helped pad the president’s margin of victory.
But Christopher Malagisi, the American Conservative Union’s CPAC director, told a panel at the Faith and Freedom Conference Friday that Obama’s appeal among young Americans has dropped by over 20 points since then. The president leads Romney 43 percent compared with 26 percent for the presumptive GOP nominee.
Shifts in views on issues such as jobs and the economy, health care and tax are helping to dampen youth enthusiasm for Obama, according to Malagisi.
While young voters have become more liberal on gay issues, they have become more conservative on issues involving abortion.
Malagisi suggests that the Romney campaign needs to take the lead and do a far better job reaching out to younger voters than John McCain did in 2008, which was virtually none at all.
“The Romney campaign needs to have an all-out effort and a full assault on youth,” Malagisi said. “Go after the youth vote and young professionals.”
This includes getting College Republicans and members of other conservative organizations involved.
The College Republicans plan a large recruiting effort to attract the several million young people who have come of age since the 2008 election, according to chairman Alex Shriver.
“I think that the 2008 election awoke the Republican Party up to the importance of that demographic,” Shriver said. “Young people bought the whole thing about hope and change in 2008, and now they are finding out that it’s really not working for them.”