With polls showing independent voters swinging toward Republicans in Wisconsin and the nation's other battlegrounds, Democrats are turning elsewhere to make up ground. So on Tuesday in Madison, Obama will stage the first in a series of rallies on college campuses designed to persuade what some call his "surge" voters - the roughly 15 million Americans who voted for the first time in 2008 - to return to the polls this fall.
But without Obama on the ballot this year, his grass-roots network is a shadow of its former self. And with just five weeks before the midterm elections, Obama's political advisers acknowledge that transferring the goodwill he cultivated over a historic presidential bid to an array of other Democrats has proved difficult.
"A lot of these voters feel very strongly about the president, but still a lot of them aren't showing enough predilection to vote," said David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager and an architect of the Democrats' midterm strategy.
Independents voted in 2008 for Barack Obama, not the Democratic Party. And there's really nothing the Dems can do about that. When you're a Dem, you're a Dem all the way. That's what partisanship IS! And that's what independents don't like. Looks like a nice little political trap for the parties. Good luck fellas!
PS -- About 45% of youth under the age of 25 consider themselves independent. But knock yourselves out!