In a recent poll conducted by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend on behalf of Generation Opportunity, 44 percent of respondents age 18-29 don’t approve on how Obama has handled youth unemployment, while only 31 percent approve.

“I think (the election) is going to be much closer than people realize, the question is not for whom young people will vote, but whether they will bother at all,” Kellyanne Conway, founder and president of tpc/WT, said of the poll results. “And it’s not because they are apathetic, but because they are realists and they know what they see, which is high food and fuel prices and massive student loan debt, and what they don’t see, which is a well-paying job and a reason to feel optimistic about their futures.”

That is a far cry from 2008, when Obama’s approval rating among young people soared, something Jason Mattera, author of Obama Zombies, partially attributes to online mass media.

Daniel Diaz, the executive director for Young Americans for Freedom, which recently merged with Young America’s Foundation, remembers what it was like at college campuses in 2008. He said he remembers the Obama stickers, the Obama chalking on the sidewalk and the people wearing Obama shirts registering students to vote. Diaz said that the situation has changed, catalyzed by both youth outreach of conservative groups and also youth dissatisfaction with Obama. These factors, he said, will be reflected in the 2012 election.

“Because of the youth, Obama won the election (in 2008),” Diaz said. “The polls that I am seeing say college students are no longer as supportive of Obama and I think there is going to be a turn. They want something different… the one thing Obama really pushed was job creation (while running for office), but how many students don’t have a job? It’s going to resonate with the youth that whatever Obama is doing isn’t going to work and I think they are going to vote against him.”

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