While managing to win his reelection by holding onto the key voter demographics that put him in the White House in 2008, President Obama's overall support saw a decline compared with four years ago. That's especially true among young voters, whom Obama lost by 6 points and whose voting patterns arguably represent a microcosm of the coming political landscape.
Even with a nationwide decline, a Pew report has found that the youth vote--those under 30--played a major role in Obama's victories in battleground states including Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. There he lost the majority of voters 30 and older to Republican challenger Mitt Romney but managed to win more than 60 percent of the youth vote.
Despite expectation of a turnout much lower than in 2008, young people made up a larger portion of the 2012 national electorate than they did four years ago: 19 percent in 2012, up from 18 percent in 2008.
That's evidence of the growing voting power of young Americans, the most racially and ethnically diverse demographic.
A deeper look at racial demographics among young voters reveals patterns that are quite similar to national voting patterns, according to the Pew analysis. For example, among young white voters, just 44 percent backed Obama while Romney won more than 51 percent. That's a 10-point drop for the president from four years past.