Capitol news bureau
August 11, 2012
First-time voters in 2008 still back President Barack Obama but not nearly as enthusiastically in 2012, according to a national survey conducted by LSU and released Tuesday.
“They still support Obama, but they just don’t seem excited,” said Kirby Goidel, director of Louisiana Survey at the LSU Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.
He prepared the survey with Michael Climek and Maxwell Means.
“Those differences are not huge, but the election is going to be close, so these differences on the margins are going to be important,” Goidel said.
The study stated: “The results reveal that while 2008 first time voters continue to support President Obama, their level of engagement in the 2012 election has declined relative to 2008.”
Among first time voters in 2008, the survey found that 55.2 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with Obama’s performance and 58.4 percent said he deserved reelection, according to the survey.
The first time voters tend to be younger, more likely to identify as racial minorities and more Democratic in their partisan affiliation, the study said.
The study found evidence that first-time voters in 2008 are less engaged than other voters. For example, the study stated, 82.2 percent of 2008 first-time voters said they “would definitely vote” compared with 93.3 percent of voters. The first-time voters also reported that they are paying less attention to the campaign and are less interested in the election.
“Polarization in politics is less a factor in turning people off for the first timers than is the economy,” Goidel said. “When asked to whose to blame for it, the answers are more negative about the economy.”
The study called “What Happened to Hope and Change?” was sponsored by LSU Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.
The telephone survey between April 20 and June 17 interviewed 511 registered voters who report voting for the first time in the 2008 presidential election. LSU also interviewed 498 randomly selected registered voters who reported having voted in previous elections.
The margin error is calculated at plus or minus 4.3 percent.