Don’t believe what the media tells you. Not every conservative, or even libertarian-leaning, voter under 30 is enamored with Ron Paul. It’s an assumption brought on by the large rallies of young people who show up with signs quoting Paul and his idealistic libertarian views. The thing is, there are plenty of young people in the Republican Party not pulling for Paul; they just don’t stand on the side of the highway with a sign telling you about it.
Young conservatives are often the hardest working and most overlooked people in campaigns. They walk, phone bank, stuff envelopes and volunteer behind the scenes. They get up at 5am and go to bed after midnight at Republican functions just to get discounted tickets. The reason they aren’t protesting in the street is that they are too busy making sure their campaign keeps running.
Sure, plenty of college kids subscribe to Paul’s constitutionalism and vote that way. Paul won the youth vote overwhelmingly in Iowa and came up strong in New Hampshire. But once the field narrowed, Paul started to lose his edge. Youth voters under 30 were more likely to “throw away” their vote on unlikely candidates early on. They got behind Huntsman and even the just surging Santorum (you know, the polar opposite of Paul). But in SouthCarolina, Gingrich pulled a huge number of youth votes, only barely behind Paul, within the margin of error based on Exit Polls. In Florida, Romney stole the youth vote. And if you paid attention (which apparently the newspapers in Jacksonville didn’t) it was easy to see that Romney’s events were packed with voters in their teens and twenties.
The point here is that whoever storms the state will most likely take the youth vote with him. The registered Republican voters who actually care enough to get out and vote in a Primary will vote for who they truly believe can win. The idea that constitutional college students make up the whole of the conservative youth vote is poor journalism. Any quick poll would find that much of the rabble raised by Paul-supporters isn’t from “real” Republicans. Paul pulls support from Independents, Democrats and –guess what?—kids who aren’t even registered. Which doesn’t help him much on the way to becoming the nominee. It’s all thunder and no storm.
If you want to see conservative voters under 30 who will actually vote, show up at any candidate headquarters and see who is keeping the wheels turning for the campaign. Show up to a Young Republican, Young Conservative, or College Republican meeting and ask who they support (expect their answers to be as varied as their work schedules). Using one college campus rally isn’t polling a demographic, it’s creating a bias. Trust me, the young Republicans are here, and they are voting for their future. And guess which candidate (coming in at 7% in Florida) isn’t in it?