Amidst slouching approval ratings among youth, President Obamaâ€™s reelection campaign rolled out Monday an initiative around engaging young people in the political process and his efforts.
â€œAs a campaign man, I know the worst thing we can do is take support for granted,â€ said Jim Messina, Obamaâ€™s national campaign manager in a national conference call with student reporters.
â€œThatâ€™s why weâ€™re kicking off (the initiative) so early and pushing it so hard.
The initiative, called â€œGreater Together,â€ is an arm of the presidentâ€™s reelection efforts and is the entity that all Students for Obama groups report to. Students will be participating in wider canvassing and voter registration events across Fort Collins as part of the programâ€™s first push on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
â€œThe whole reason we created a student organization through (the CSU Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement office) is because of Greater Together,â€ said Terran Hause, a CSU freshman political science and economics double major who heads Obamaâ€™s reelection efforts on campus.
Greater Togetherâ€™s unveiling has taken place as young people increasingly disapprove of the presidentâ€™s performance in office. In 2008, voters between 18 and 29 overwhelmingly supported Obama, voting for him over John McCain by a 2-1 ratio. Now, only 45 percent of youth approve of the president.
Nationally, tuition has increased by 35 percent during the past five years according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers group. Student loan debt totaled $1 trillion and the job market remains stagnant. The Institute for Financial Literacy recently reported that there has been a rise in the amount of bachelorâ€™s degree holders filing for bankruptcy over recent years, up 21 percent from 2006.
Through their new initiative, Obama campaign staffers aim to make sure that the years of financial hardship endured by students during his presidency doesnâ€™t translate into votes for Republicans.
Young voters might also elect to not vote for anyone in the 2012 presidential race. In 2008, turnout among youth was 51 percent, the third highest since 1972.
Hause, president of CSUâ€™s Students for Obama, is not daunted by the prospect that students wonâ€™t go to the ballot box in the upcoming election.
â€œI think that youâ€™re going to have the same turnout, if not even more,â€ he said. â€œI think itâ€™s becoming more apparent to people that all these issues are important.â€
Campaign Manager Messina agrees.
â€œWhat weâ€™re seeing on the ground is more involvement than in â€˜08, not less,â€ he said. â€œEight million registered voters 18 to 21 who can vote this time, couldnâ€™t vote last time.â€
CSUâ€™s College Republicans did not comment on the issue.
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in CSUâ€™s Students for Obama? Attend their meeting.
5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2, Lory Student Center, Room 211E
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7:00 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at C.B. & Potts