In the 2008 presidential election, U.S. President Barack Obama won in no small part due to the "youth vote."
Four years ago, voters under 30 formed about 17% of the electorate and cast twice as many ballots for President Obama as for opponent John McCain. This was in stark contrast to voters over 30 where only half supported the Democratic nominee.
It was the biggest generation gap in four decades of modern election polling. The election itself had the largest turnout since 1960 — when another young, charismatic president made it to the White House.
But Election 2012 may be different.
This year President Obama could find it much more difficult to inspire the youngest voters with his message of hope. It will be hard for under-30, unemployed voters to believe this president is an "instrument of change" and a "visionary" when jobless numbers remain unusually high.
The latest unemployment numbers for 20- to 24-year-olds are 9.3% for college graduates and 12.9% overall. What's worse is the newest voters, aged 18-19, have a depressingly high unemployment rate of 23.5%.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll provided another foreboding statistic for the president: 54% of recent graduates say they think the country is on the wrong track.