First-Time Voters From 2008 Not Set On Obama In 2012

First-time voters from 2008 weighting their options in preparation for the 2012 election.


In 2008, first-time voters cast ballots for President Barack Obama at a rate of two to one over his Republican challenger.

Scores of them showed up at rallies, donated money, and mobilized to secure Obama's victory.

And while the demographic still prefers Obama to Romney, the president's hold on the constituency is slipping away.

A study released Tuesday by the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at Louisiana State University reveals four years later some of those voters who were so enthralled with the president's message of "hope and change" are less enthusiastic.

The survey shows that first-time voters in 2008 who supported Obama in droves are not only frustrated with a polarized government, but are wary of the president's failure to get the economy back on track.

First-time voters in 2008 tended to be younger, more ethnically diverse and left-leaning than their serial voting counterparts.

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And while first-time Obama supporters still prefer the president to Republican candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, fewer pledge their unwavering support.

"President Obama's 2008 first-time voters are less supportive than other Obama supporters, reflecting a decline in enthusiasm among a key voting bloc in the 2012 elections," the study says.

Just over 80 percent of first-time Obama voters from 2008 said they thought the president deserved to be re-elected compared to nearly 91 percent of Obama's other supporters.

"Younger voters were more likely to be disillusioned," says Kirby Goidel, the Director of the public policy research lab at Louisiana State University. "Other Obama supporters had more realistic assessments what the obstacles to meaningful change are."

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The sluggish economy, which has disproportionately affected millennials, has created an environment where just over 50 percent of Obama's first-time voters say that the president cares about them.

The other obstacle for the Obama campaign is that many of the first-time voters from 2008 may not even show up to the polls.

First-time voters reported they are less interested and less engaged.

Only 82 percent of the first-time Obama voters said they'd definitely be voting in 2012.

"In 2008, it was a historic election that people wanted to be a part of," Goidel says. "There were really heightened expectations that were so high that he almost couldn't live up to them."

There are a few areas, however, that first-time voters give the president a lot of credit for. When it comes safety, nearly 70 percent of first-time Obama voters polled said the country is better off with Obama in power and many agreed killing Osama bin Laden was the president's greatest accomplishment.