Anya Kamenetz, author of “DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education,” is a senior writer for Fast Company magazine.
Four years ago, when I was 28, friends of mine were quitting their first jobs to work for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. I was getting invites to fundraise or phone-bank for the senator every few days. I spent election night hugging strangers in a bar in Brooklyn and met up with a dozen pals in Washington for Inauguration Day, all of us sleeping on couches and walking miles in the 20-degree weather.
In 2008, voters 18 to 29 went for Obama 2 to 1over John McCain; turnout among these young voters was the second-largestever recorded. But in 2012, that youthful Obama-mania seems to have faded. Alex Wirth of the Harvard Public Opinion Project has forecast that turnout for voters under 30 will be 34 to 40 percent, compared with 51 percent four years ago. Although the youngest voters greatly prefer Obama over Mitt Romney, according to survey data, they are far less enthusiastic, are more likely to call themselves independents than Democrats or Republicans, and rate themselves less interested in the news and less likely to vote compared with four years ago.