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Obama still popular among young voters in new poll

President Obama
President Obama on March 30, 2011. CBS

Despite a recent poll indicating an all-time low in President Obama's popularity, a new survey shows that young voters are increasingly happy with the president's performance.

According to the study, released on Thursday by Harvard University's Institute of Politics (IOP), 55 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds approve of the president's job performance - up six points from a similar survey in October.

Among those respondents currently enrolled in a four-year college, the president fared even better: 60 percent of those surveyed said they approved of the president's performance, up nine points from October.

Mr. Obama's popularity among young voters could be a crucial factor in his ability to get re-elected, particularly given that he did so well with the demographic in the 2008 election.

Even while the president appears to enjoy significant support among young people, however, two recent polls appear to suggest that the president's overall support is taking a dip - possibly partially owing to his recent handling of the crisis in Libya.

In a Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday, 48 percent of voters said they disapproved of Mr. Obama's performance as president, while only 42 percent - an all-time low for the president in this particular survey - approved. When questioned on a hypothetical 2012 electoral matchup, Mr. Obama received only 36 percent support, while an "unnamed Republican challenger" won 37 percent.

The voters tended to oppose America's recent intervention in Libya: according to the survey, 47 percent were against American involvement there as a whole, while only 41 percent supported it.

(Incidentally, the voters gave contradictory answers when asked more specific questions about American involvement in Libya: they approved of using cruise missiles to destroy the nation's air defense by 53-35 percent; they disapproved of using force to remove Muammar Qaddafi by 48-41 percent, and they said 65-27 percent that the U.S. should use military force to protect Libyan civilians from Qaddafi.)

The approval ratings largely fell along party lines. Eighty percent of Democrats approved of Obama's performance, while 81 percent of Republicans disapproved. Among independent voters, 50 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved.