The hometown buzz among young voters surrounding President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign isn’t as strong this time out, if Chicago voter registration is any indication.
There are 138,000 fewer people signed up to vote in the 18-to-34-year-old group than the city ended up with four years ago, election officials said. In suburban Cook County, there are 50,000 fewer voters in that age group compared with the last presidential election.
The dynamic is not expected to hurt Obama’s chances in Illinois against Republican Mitt Romney on Nov. 6. After all, Illinois has become a solidly Democratic state, and it’s the one Obama calls home. Still, political analysts say, it’s a trend worth noting — and not just in Chicago.
“It means that the younger voters just aren’t as taken with the election as they were with the last one,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Washington-based Pew Research Center. “This is an important Democratic and Obama constituency, and should give pause to them.”
The group’s new nationwide survey of 3,000 people showed a “notable decline in younger voter registration” from four years ago, Kohut said. Specifics are expected to be released later this week. About 2,400 of those polled were voters in the survey that was conducted Sept. 12-16.