On November second, the United States held congressional and state elections in a year defined by voter dissatisfaction. Democrats tried to excite their party's base of support in an effort to limit Republican gains. That base includes young people. Two years ago, two-thirds of voters under thirty voted for Barack Obama. The president urged them to remember that excitement and his campaign for change. His efforts to reach young voters included appearances on MTV and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" along with college visits. The president spoke to about thirty-five thousand people at Ohio State University. He said: "And now we are not just advocating change. We're not just calling for change. We're doing the hard work of change -- we're grinding it out. Sometimes it's frustrating. We're delivering change inch by inch, day by day. It's not easy. Believe me, I know it's not easy."Zach Howell, president of the College Republican National Committee, could have said the same thing two years ago. But he said this year was "completely different." He said more young people are proudly identifying themselves as conservatives and as Republicans.He said: "It is all about the economy. That is everything to them. I mean, twenty percent of college graduates are unable to find work right now. So young people are concerned about their futures."Sixty percent of college students approved of the job President Obama was doing in May of last year. That number was down to forty-four percent in an Associated Press-mtvU survey in October. Heather Smith is executive director of Rock the Vote. Her group tries to get young people to become politically active. She says schools need to provide more civics education and states need to continue their efforts to make voting easier. More and more Americans vote early; some states even let people register and vote on the same day. But Ms. Smith says the voter registration process may be one reason why young people are less likely to vote. But getting more people -- especially young people -- to vote is harder in years without a presidential election. For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal. Join us online at voaspecialenglish.com and on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English.
(Adapted from a radio program broadcast 27Oct2010)