For many members of the Millennial Generation, now is about the time when they begin to ponder major life choices, including their first home purchase. However, the heavy increase of student debt load this generation carries may prevent many from buying a home, even at low prices.
While the challenges that face the Millennial Generation are great and massive, President Obama enjoys a 63% approval rating among young people according to a latest Gallup poll. This is quite odd and perplexing given the economic plight that young people face, that is familiar to us all. The job market still appears to be fragile and weak after April’s anemic addition of 115,000 jobs, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Facing the Millennial Generation is the rising catastrophe of the student loan crisis. It has been a burden on students to face increasing tuition fees, which has caused their student loan costs to spike. According to a Wall Street Journal report, approximately two-thirds of students from 2010’s graduating class graduated with student loans, with an average cost of $25,250, up 5% from the previous year.
While the fear of not acquiring a job is a constant fear in students’ minds, also concerning them is the question of which career to pursue during their collegiate studies. If a student chooses a career path that is not currently seeing high numbers in the workforce, it obviously becomes a risk. For example, there are more opportunities in the workforce for engineers and nurses than there are for those who may pursue a career in the creative arts field. It is extremely helpful that students work in an internship or job training program while enrolled in college that will not only benefit their academic career but would also assist in their job search.
Due to the heavy debt load and lack of jobs available for students, many of them have decided to move back home to reside with their parents and caregivers. This makes it difficult for them to flex their financial muscles in purchasing a home, paying their bills and embracing financial dependency.
With all of these woes being up front and center in the lives of Millennials, one has to ask: “Why are they still supporting Obama?” The answer is this: imagery.
Barack Obama may not have the celebrity appeal as he did in 2008, but he is still a likable guy. How do you compete with the president who effectively sings Al Green and can slow jam the news?
The toxic climate involving his economic policies is somewhat overshadowed by the fact that he relates to culture. Whether it be basketball, Hollywood fundraisers or soul singing, President Obama has an advantage with the youth vote because he is continuing his role as a “hipster” or someone who is culturally relevant.
In contrast, his opponent, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, has been burdened with a stigma from the media that is tough to counter. He is constantly portrayed as a rich white guy who is out of touch with mainstream society. He hasn’t had quite the appeal to the youth as Obama has and been accused of appearing stiff and rigid.
However, Mitt can tap into the Millennial vote by advocating a message of economic freedom, free market capitalism and job growth, which are essential to beating financial dependency and creating economic freedom for the Millennial Generation.
Will Romney be able to shake off the image of a rigid, rich white guy and convince them that Obama’s policies have failed them? Only time will tell. Unfortunately in politics, imagery can trump ideology.