President Obama hasn't been cool on college campuses for months, so you could hardly expect young people to be excited to vote for the so-four-years-ago president. But poll numbers showing a 28 percentage point drop in enthusiasm among Democrats under 30 should alarm Obama's reelection campaign -- those youngsters helped him win in 2008, and they'd be the ones with the free time to volunteer in the fall. Here's our guide to today's polls and which ones matter.
Findings: Republicans are more exited to vote in 2012 than Democrats, but they're not nearly as psyched as Democrats were in 2008. 53 percent of Republicans are excited to vote, compared to 45 percent of Democrats. In 2008, 79 percent of Democrats were pumped. The group of Democrats with the biggest drop in enthusiasm is young folks: 76 percent of those 18 to 29 were excited four years ago, now just 48 percent are, a drop of 28 points.
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,014 adults nationwide from February 16 to February 19.
Why it matters: If they're not even excited to vote themselves, will young folks bother to try to convince their grandmas in Florida to vote for Obama? Republicans, meanwhile, experienced a dip in enthusiasm a couple months ago, but have bounced back. After being thrilled to vote in October 2011, Republican enthusiasm sunk to 49 percent in December, just 5 points above Democrats'.
Caveat: "There is plenty of time between now and this November for voter enthusiasm to change, particularly once a GOP nominee is determined and the focus moves to the general election," Gallup says.