These headlines fit well with the conventional storyline that young adults participated in large numbers in the "wave election" of 2008, but may not duplicate that effort in 2012. However, should we deduce from the Harvard poll that the youth vote will desert President Obama in 2012?
In the laundry list of popular stereotypes of young people, political apathy features prominently. It's the Me Generation. Generation Entitlement. Young people, we are told, care more about Lady Gaga's latest outfit than about the upcoming election.
Mitt Romney may be the last of his kind. No, I don't mean President Obama is turning America into a socialist state and rounding up the Romneys to strip them of their riches. What I do mean is that my generation is simply incapable producing another Romney.
College life exposes students to democracy in action. They are challenged by new thoughts and ideas and must learn to consider and respect multiple opinions and perspectives, both in the classroom and in other campus interactions with their peers.
The results of the Harvard Public Opinion Project's new poll reveal a democracy at risk. The 2012 election might bring the lowest youth voter turnout since 18-year-olds were allowed to vote in 1972. Our democracy is at risk and we must do something about it.
We need to get young people the information they need to register and then to vote. For many in this age group, they have moved from home to go to school in a new community where the rules may be unclear to them.
This might be the last year I'm a student at Boston University, but it's the first year that I (A) had a legal sip of beer and (B) had my face broadcast on over 750 college campuses. So bring it on, Mayans! I'm ready for the apocalypse of 2012.
The amount of information consumed by the Millennials pushes them to think in terms greater than party-lines. The young vote will be determined this year on the facts and the future plans, not on the charisma and character of the candidates.
In 2012, neither mudslinging nor abstract calls to idealism will earn a candidate the college student vote. If what they hear is not transparent, compelling, and addressed to their own current and future needs, they will stay home on election day.
People say that my generation is the one who will really change the world and that we are the ones who are really going to make a difference. How are we going to change the world when we are just sitting and "liking" causes, but not getting off our computers and doing some actual work?
While I've heard the rumors that young people are going to sit this election out, that they are disaffected and unenthusiastic, after personally registering a couple thousand of them to vote in the last six months, I feel confident in saying that those rumors are false.