Once thought to be solidly behind President Barack Obama
, younger voters burdened by a bleak employment picture, high gas prices and student loan debt are being aggressively wooed by the Democrat and his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
In 2008, Obama had a 34-point advantage over Republican Sen. John McCain among voters under age 30. He won about two-thirds of the vote in that age group.
But a new Harvard poll suggests the president may face a harder sales job with younger voters this time around. Obama led Romney by 12 points among those ages 18-24, according to the survey. Among those in the 25-29 age group, Obama held a 23-point advantage.
It's an opening Republicans hope to exploit by focusing on young people's disillusionment with the candidate who promised "hope" and "change."