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President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on Monday. / Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - "Faith in America's Future" was the theme of President Obama's second inauguration, but many young voters who came to the District of Columbia for the event were not overly optimistic about the next four years.

College senior Rebekah Singleton was one of them.

A campaign worker and supporter of Mitt Romney, Singleton said she saw a lack of progress in lowering the nation's debt under Obama. Singleton, who attends Abilene Christian University in Texas, voted for Romney because she believed he had a better plan to address America's economic crisis.

"We're the superpower right now, but I don't know what that's going to look like in the years to come," Singleton said. "I think the direction of our economy is going to be ... the No. 1 thing people are going to look back on."

Although voters younger than 30 increased from 18% of the electorate in 2008 to 19% in November, support for Obama slipped: 60% of young voters chose Obama in the November election, down from 66% four years ago.

The inauguration buzz is also not as loud with college students as last time. Though the campus is less than a mile from the White House, George Washington University had only 550 students registered to attend the swearing-in ceremony on Monday, compared with 800 who attended in 2009.

Although Jimmy Muwombi from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania voted for Obama, he said he doubts the president's ability to follow through on his promises because of his failed guarantee to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"I hope in his second term this next four years, he makes do on his promises," said Muwombi, 22. "That's my main concern."

Throughout the fall, Republican college students across the nation campaigned for Mitt Romney, hosted events on campuses and tried to promote the Republican agenda to fellow students. Alex Case, chairman of the College Republicans at Washington's Georgetown University, said that many students believe the past four years focused on the wrong issues.

"They are dealing with the short-term of the disease, not the disease itself," Case said. "We feel in general the Obama administration has taken a shortsighted view of these problems."

Blair Agan, a sophomore at Abilene Christian University in Texas said he believes that students still back the president because of his liberal policies. Younger voters are more likely to support a progressive platform that focuses on new laws regarding such as issues as homosexuality, gender equality and immigration.

"I think that Obama really did appeal to the younger generation this time around," Agan said Friday.Young people "really want to look at equality and freedom across the board, and Obama kind of shares that view. ? They can relate to him."

Though Singleton is an active member of the Republican Party, she said she was not surprised when Obama won the election because of the appeal of his liberal platform. She said she thinks generations to come will be increasingly liberal, and she fears the Republican Party may become non-existent if it does not re-evaluate its stand on important issues.

"Being here, I've every day been thinking about what is going to happen with the Republican Party in the future," she said in an interview Friday. "In 2040, the minority (in the country) is going to be the majority, and if Republicans aren't willing to change their ideals a little bit on immigration and other issues, I don't see them coming up anytime soon."

While some of the same fervor and adoration toward the president was apparent during Monday's festivities, many young voters said they attended the celebration simply for the experience of the big event. Lauren Gaydos, 20, seated at the West Front of the Capitol about 300 feet from Obama, wore a Mitt Romney shirt under her layers of clothes.

"I'd like to think I'll be in D.C. for inaugurations to come," Gaydos said, "but it is still an important part of history. I wanted to witness it."

Kaitlin Martin, the chairwoman for the D.C. Federation of College Republicans, said the group did not schedule any events for Monday. While she and her colleagues were disappointed with the November results, Martin said she believes the inauguration is not a day for protesting. `

"While we were unsuccessful in our bid for the White House ... it still is such an exciting time to be a D.C. college student," Martin said. "Even though we're not super-excited about swearing (Obama) in, it still is an exciting day to be an American. It's so patriotic; I feel like people are looking at it more in a 'celebrate America' way."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Young voters more subdued, less optimistic than in 2009

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