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Obama Excitement Wanes as Young Voters Tune Out U.S. Election

Indiana University professor Gerald Wright opened his class on congressional elections by asking students if they saw the previous night’s school-sponsored U.S. House candidate debate a few blocks from campus.

Among almost 60 students, three hands went up.

“Most students don’t care about elections in general,” 20-year-old sophomore Melody Mostow said after the class last week. “In most midterm elections, there’s not that central person for us to rally around.”

The thrill is gone for many voters under age 30 who turned out in 2008 to vote for President Barack Obama by a 2-1 nationwide margin. That support represented the biggest schism between young and older voters in a presidential election since exit polling began in 1972, according to the Pew Research Center in Washington.

This year, fewer than three in 10 voters under age 30 say they will definitely cast ballots in the Nov. 2 congressional elections, down from 36 percent 11 months ago, according to a poll by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics released Oct. 21.

That’s disheartening for Democrats like Representative Baron Hill in southeast Indiana. His race may hinge on support from younger voters on a sprawling, hilly campus of old stone halls who helped swell his 2008 victory margin to 58 percent. It was his biggest win ever in a district that voted Republican in the previous three presidential elections and includes the 42,000-student university in Bloomington.

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(Read More: Bloomberg News)

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