President Barack Obama holds a commanding lead among young adults ages 18 to 29, with days to go until the 2012 presidential election, according to a survey by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).
The report, released on Oct. 29, is based on a survey commissioned by the Youth Education Fund, that polled 1,695 youth in June and July, and 1,109 of the same youth in October. Significantly, the survey found that college education did not play much of a role in candidate preference. Among young adults with college experience, the survey found that 51.7 percent preferred Democratic incumbent Obama heading into the Nov. 6 election, compared to 35.8 percent who preferred Republican challenger Mitt Romney. According to the report, approximately 40 percent of those polled did not attend college.
Of those without college experience, 52.9 percent of respondents said they favored the Obama, whereas 33.5 percent said they favored Romney.
Only 15 percent of all respondents said that they had been contacted by either campaign. According to the survey, the Obama campaign contacted more young people with college education, 11.5 percent, than those without college experience, 5.8 percent. The poll found the Romney campaign leaned the opposite direction, contacting only 3.5 percent of college-educated young people, but 6.6 percent of those without any college education.
According to CIRCLE, young people with college experience were more likely to believe that the country is “moving in the right direction” than those that without college experience. For both college-educated and non-educated college young people, the most important economic issue heading into the election was a “lack of jobs that pay a wage that allows you to support a family.” On average, young people without college education were 10 percent more likely to respond with “don’t know” when asked how they stood on social issues, like gay marriage and immigration reform.
Respondents with college experiences were also found to be more likely than non-college-educated young people to have accurate information about their respective states’ photo identification and early voting laws, with 50.4 percent of those with college experience correctly identifying their local policies compared to just 43.9 percent of non-college-educated young people. However, the report finds that an almost equal number of college-educated and non-college-educated young people knew when their states’ registration deadlines were, with 13.7 percent of those with college experience and 13.1 percent of respondents without college experience correctly identifying the cutoff dates for voter registration.