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Obama's Youth Problem

He's not that cool anymore.

8:31 AM, Oct 26, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Meanwhile, at Case Western, a flock of students walk right past a table manned by one Obama volunteer, who’s there to encourage students to vote early. In my hour and a half on campus, I only spot one student with an Obama t-shirt. And the only election-related material pinned on a community board on Case Western’s main lawn is an advertisement for a Gary Johnson rally. “Hell, yes,” the poster reads. “Be libertarian one time.”

Kennedy, from Cleveland State, says he’s even seen some of his Obama-supporting friends change heart. 

“On Facebook in ’08, I’d post a pro-McCain status and I’d get 15 people calling me heartless,” he says. “Now I’ll post something pro-Romney-Ryan and I’ll get, like, 30 likes.”

Obama backers like Stewart and Sprunt recognize their peers are less enthusiastic about the election than they may have been four years ago. 

“I watched the last two debates in our common room in the dorm,” says Sprunt. “And I think there was more of a bias toward President Obama, but also a lot of people were not so much excited as disappointed.”

Disappointed how?

“I don’t think it was a sense of, like, ‘oh, he did horrible,’” Stewart says. “Like, I think it was more a sense of, ‘oh, he didn’t exceed our expectations.’”

Stewart saw Obama three days after his poorly reviewed first debate performance, at a rally at Cleveland State.

“We were excited to make sure that he was, like, okay and still had it,” she laughs.

But it isn’t just the debates that may have depressed energy among young voters, they say. 

“I think it’s a lot easier to get excited for someone before they actually hold the office because they encounter all the problems that come along with the office,” Sprunt says. “Not that I blame President Obama for anything that he has or hasn’t done, but it’s easier to talk before you’ve actually gone through the situation.”

Bob Carroll, the Obama-turned-Romney supporter, sums it up: “Once you become a politician, you stop being cool.”

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