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Poll: Majority of Young Voters Support Obama

Millennial voters prefer President Obama by 16 percentage points, with these young voters splitting along the same racial and ethnic lines that have divided older voters in previous elections, a pre-debate poll published on Thursday by the Public Religion Research Institute showed.

The 2012 Millennial Values Election Survey found that the share of voters ages 18 to 25 who say they support Obama had risen to 55 percent since March, when 48 percent of respondents said they backed the president. By comparison, 39 percent say they now support Mitt Romney; in March, 41 percent did.

These young voters are divided along familiar racial and ethnic lines, the new poll showed.

Black millennials surveyed support Obama over Romney 97 percent to 2 percent. A large majority of Hispanics also support him, 67 percent to Romney's 23 percent. Among white 18- to 25-year-old voters, the margin narrows: Obama  leads by 11 points, 52 percent sto 41 percent for Romney.

Familiar patterns in voting preferences among the religiously affiliated also emerged among these millennial voters.

Romney has a commanding lead among white Christians. Eight in 10 white evangelical Protestants say they prefer him, compared with 15 percent who back Obama. Just more than half of white mainline Protestants support Romney, while 40 percent support Obama.

However, 55 percent of the white Catholic voters polled support Obama, as do 68 percent of the unaffiliated younger millennial voters.

The poll found that nearly two-thirds of younger mllennials are registered to vote, up slightly from six in 10 in March. Half said they are absolutely certain to vote in November, compared to 46 percent who said the same this spring.

The survey was conducted jointly by Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs between Aug. 28 and Sept. 10. Results fare based on interviews conducted online in both English and Spanish with 1,214 adults ages 18 to 25 who were recontacted from the original Millennial Values Survey. The margin of sampling error for the entire sample is plus or minus 4.3 points at the 95 percent level of confidence.