Barack Obama and the Democratic sweep in 2008 was powered in part by legions of young people - among them many first time voters - coming out in droves to campaign and vote for him.
Buyers' remorse seems to have set in as the young see the error of their ways and wise up to reality: they put in place people who have wrecked the economy and damaged their futures.
The New York Times reports:
The college vote is up for grabs this year - to an extent that would have seemed unlikely two years ago, when a generation of young people seemed to swoon over Barack Obama.
Though many students are liberals on social issues, the economic reality of a weak job market has taken a toll on their loyalties: far fewer 18- to 29-year-olds now identify themselves as Democrats compared with 2008.
"Is the recession, which is hitting young people very hard, doing lasting or permanent damage to what looked like a good Democratic advantage with this age group?" asked Scott Keeter, the director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan group. "The jury is still out."
How and whether millions of college students vote will help determine if Republicans win enough seats to retake the House or Senate, overturning the balance of power on Capitol Hill, and with it, Mr. Obama's agenda. If students tune out and stay home it will also carry a profound message for American society about a generation that seemed so ready, so recently, to grab national politics by the lapels and shake.
There's a vibe," he said on a recent afternoon, while pumping weights at the gym. "Right now it seems like Republicans just care a lot more than Democrats."
Young people - along with minorities - were one of the bases that came out strongly in 2008 for Democrats. I think economic concerns are one factor that has caused them to reconsider their views. But there are others as well that have caused "the youth vote to move on .