Something amiss with Obama's youth vote
"I am not registered to vote and frankly I don't care," says 19-year-old Sahira Singh, in her 2nd year at George Washington University in Washington DC. It is the first time she can exercise her vote but like many of her peers, she is "not exactly politically moved" to vote for the President. So I turn to ask 17-year-old Karan Takhar, who is going to start volunteering for the Obama campaign in Maryland from next week.
"Frankly, I am not sure whose side I am on yet," he says. "I just watched the Republican convention and I feel more for them as of now. Hopefully that will change once I begin work."
Charles Patton, the vice-president at the Black Youth Community at American University in DC thinks the campaign is "not as energised". Four years ago, American youth thronged in their tens of thousands to support Obama's 'Yes we Can' movement.
Robin Culnan, a third year student and a member of the Black Youth Community thinks the "lack of portrayal of Obama in pop-culture and you-tube" explains this deficit.
Hit by recession, young people aren't too enthusiastic about latching on to the Obama bandwagon. Many in the their mid-20's relate to Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan's statement: "College graduates should not have to live out their 20's in their childhood bedrooms". Seeing high unemployment rates, the youth are more worried about their job prospects and standard of life in the near future and after all, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney assures them that he "has it covered".
Dana Bugaighs, a second year college student and an ardent Obama supporter in 2008 says that the President was "all talk, no action". Her friend Dima Calnam protests that the "administration inherited a very bad economy, which has improved". But Dana, like many her age, is sceptical of the President "doing much" in his next term. "I may vote for Romney. I think. I am still deciding," she says, wavering and on the edge of ambiguity.
Young voters converted three traditionally Republican states of North Carolina, Indiana and Virginia to Democratic standing in 2008. Can Obama get his mojo back with the help of his Hollywood friends and win back the youth vote? Or has the recession engulfed his swagger? The youth here in DC seem divided on that one.