In the last three election cycles —2004, 2006 and 2008— the majority of young people voted for the Democratic Party. In 2008, 66 percent of those under the age of 30 voted for President Barack Obama, making the gap between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since CBS’s exit polling began in 1972.
Though the 2010 midterm elections are favoring Republicans, a Gallup Poll reported registered voters aged 18-29 still favor the Democrats by 55 percent to 36 percent over Republicans; resulting in the widest generational gaps so far this year in the vote for Congress.
In hopes to mobilize the youth vote, Obama spoke to 225 college students and young voters at a televised town hall meeting hosted my MTV, BET and CMT on Oct. 14. This was part of a coordinated effort by White House and Democratic campaign officials to keep young people from sitting out of the November Election.
This is not the first time a President has spoken at an MTV town. President Bill Clinton in 1994 was famously asked whether he wore boxers or briefs; however, Obama face questions or foreign and domestic policies.
President Obama said he anticipated more bipartisan cooperation after the midterm elections next month, while condemning Republicans over tax policy and undisclosed donors through the political debate.
In a new poll, conducted by the Associated Press and a division of Viacom’s MTV networks called mtvU, showed 44 percent of students approve of Obama’s job performance. In May 2009 that figure was 60 percent.
The format of the town hall was meant to draw in young voters, but it was like Obama’s other town hall meetings. Instead of a more personable persona, he gave lengthy answers in serious tones. Obama steered clear of emotions while fielding expressly emotional questions questions from students expressing hurt or fear.
Obama took a strong stand against the ban on gays serving openly in the military, but said he had to operate within the U.S. law. On October 12, Federal Judge Virginia Phillips of California ordered to an end to the enforcement of the federal law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but the Obama Administration asked the court on October 14 to set aside the ruling until they can appeal the law.
On immigration, Obama emphasized that he spent more money on border security than other presidents before him. He said that he supports the passage of the DREAM Act, which will allow the children of illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors to gain citizenship after attending college or serving in the military.
This was not the first appearance. other appearances to energize young voters in an effort to repair bonds with young voters, who were at the heart of his political base. He appeared before 26,000 people at the University of Wisconsin in September.
Obama is also scheduled to speak at a rally at Ohio State University with the First Lady, Michelle Obama, on Oct. 17 and will lead another rally at the University of Southern California on Oct. 22.
Carmen Singleton is an intern at C&E.