Courting youth vote
Courting youth voteReuters

A just-released Gallup poll points to an enthusiasm gap among younger voters.

One reason for the Obama victory in 2008 was a higher than usual turnout of younger voters since these tended to favor Obama by higher margins than other members of the electorate.

Obama had a 34% advantage over McCain in this age bracket. Current polls show that Obama is still popular among the young.  Although his margin over Romney is 23% rather than 34%, he has to get them to show up at the polling booths.

If in October and November 2008, 78% of the 18 to 29-year-olds intended to vote. The figure is currently 58%.

These figures do not necessarily mean that voter turnout will not perk up by November among the young. It does however mean that the Obama campaign will have to invest a good deal of effort to mobilize the youth vote which is more than a bit disheartened by the job situation in the United States.

This contrasts with the 65 and over voters who show a 2% higher proclivity to vote than in 2008.

85% of the seniors intend to vote, as do 85% of the 50 to 64-year-olds. It may be recalled that among older voters, John McCain beat Barack Obama. Romney is doubling McCain's 8% lead over Obama.

The Gallup poll also found that there is been a drop in intention to vote among black and Hispanic voters. The black vote is president Obama's core constituency, while Hispanics broke heavily in his favor in 2008.

Some Democratic strategists have believed that  trends heralding  the rise of the nonwhite population will help counterbalance Mitt Romney's current edge among white voters - but black and Hispanics must similarly be coaxed to the polls.