I’m a sophomore at Vassar College.

If you want to gauge the level of college students’ support for Barack Obama, it’s safe to say that Vassar College is a great place to start.

There are liberal arts institutions in the Northeast, which are naturally left-leaning in the first place, and then there’s Vassar, which treads far, far deeper into liberal country.

It’s a well-known truth that Obama is well-received by younger people, particularly college students, who feel that it’s easy to relate to not only his life story, but his charm and youthful charisma.

According to a CNN exit poll on November 4th, 2008, which tracked total votes cast on Election Day, Obama won 66% of the nation’s voting group aged 18-29, compared to John McCain’s 32%. This was impressive on two fronts. First, and more obviously, the voting results for that age group demonstrated a clear and resounding landslide, in which the Democratic nominee completely dominated the Republican.

Second, the support for Obama shown by younger voters carried more weight than usual because of the remarkable turnout by college students and recent graduates. In 2008, these people were undoubtedly more fired up to vote than usual, considering that the younger members of this great nation are notorious for being relatively lazy and apathetic when it comes to their right to vote. Consider this: when breaking down 2008 votes by age, voters aged 18-29 accounted for 18% of overall votes, while those aged 65 and older accounted for 16% (based on CNN’s 2008 poll.)

Let me reiterate. America’s youngest voters actually voted more, as a whole, than the nation’s oldest voters! If you’ve ever been to a polling site or have been unlucky enough to work at one (as I have), you know that the odds of seeing anyone but a senior citizen show up are astronomically low. Or, at least, it seems that way, as you help out Vietnam veteran after Vietnam veteran after Vietnam veteran.

We’ve known for at least four years now that younger people gravitate toward Barack Obama.

But, as I look around Vassar’s campus and speak to people about the upcoming election, there’s something missing. The juice, the energy, and the excitement just aren’t where they should be for this college-age group of people, especially students attending an institution like Vassar, which is almost entirely homogenous in its political ideology. There is no tangible buzz surrounding Election Day, which takes place in less than a week’s time.

I’ve talked to a lot of students who are planning on voting for Obama simply because they don’t like his opponent, Mitt Romney. Many of them aren’t particularly passionate about seeing the incumbent win a reelection bid. Some of them, maybe the majority of them, probably won’t even vote on November 6th.

What are the reasons for this? Maybe, the lack of enthusiasm stems from the economy’s sluggish recovery following the Great Recession, which some have pegged on the man in charge. Maybe, it has to do with Obama’s unique demeanor, which some have criticized as professorial, academic, and emotionally detached. Maybe, Vassar students’ hopes were dashed when they realized that Obama actually isn’t Franklin D. Roosevelt and won’t be able to overcome a severely polarized Washington to enact broad reform programs.

Whatever the case may be, there are many students at Vassar who aren’t nearly as high on 2012 Obama, compared to the promising 2008 version. In their eyes, the president just hasn’t lived up to the hype created by the intriguing candidate.

“Oh, yeah, November 6th is really close. I really don’t like Romney, so I guess I’m just voting for Obama. I still like him.” This is the general sentiment at Vassar. It’s one of apathy, rather than eager anticipation. Students are more concerned with seeing Romney fail in his bid for the White House than rewarding Obama with another term.

On November 1st, 2008, the youth population was brimming with eagerness. Barack Obama’s campaign slogan of real and effective change, which would remove George W. Bush from everybody’s psyche, made students’ eyes glisten with political fervor. Masses of students who had never really cared about politics or presidential elections wanted to vote for the first time because they saw a different kind of leader in Barack Obama. He wasn’t like everyone else.

As of November 1st, 2012, the eagerness exhibited four years ago is a beaten-down shell of its former self.

More and more students now see Barack Obama as just another candidate seeking political office.