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Four years later, college newspapers that once supported Obama abandon him

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Many college newspapers that endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008 are not supporting his election again this year, another indication that the Obama enthusiasm that swept across campuses four years ago has faded.

A review conducted by The Daily Caller of campus publications indicates that at least 53 papers newspapers that endorsed Obama in 2008 have yet to endorse his candidacy again as Election Day approaches. TheDC arrived at this number by looking at 89 known papers that supported Obama four years ago.

Ryan Weber, the editor of the Daily Illini at the University of Illinois, explained to his readers last week that the paper decided against endorsing a candidate in the election after supporting Democratic nominee John Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008.

“This decision does not come easily — some members of the editorial board opposed this decision; others supported it,” Weber wrote.

But don’t be fooled: most of these publications aren’t all backing Republican nominee Mitt Romney instead. Only one paper — The Daily Campus of Southern Methodist University — is supporting Romney in 2012 after supporting Obama in 2008.

“The economic situation four years ago was terrible, but the so-called recovery of the last four years has been mediocre at best,” the paper wrote in its endorsement of Romney in October. “President Obama, for all the well-deserved hype he received after his historic election in 2008, has failed to live up to the excitement.”

As TheDC reported Sunday, while a number of papers have abandoned him, Obama still appears to be winning more endorsements than Romney overall from college newspapers.

But Obama — who won nearly every endorsement made by college newspapers in 2008 — is not as popular on campus as he was four years ago.

Forty-three school papers that endorsed Obama in 2008 tell TheDC that they have decided against endorsing any candidate in the 2012 presidential race.

At Saint Louis University in Missouri, an editorial by The University News stated that “this newspaper is far from a monolithic entity, and our editors are, in fact, very divided on the issue of the upcoming election.”

“Many Americans may be dissatisfied with both of the major candidates,” the editorial writers argued.

TheDC attempted to reach all of the campus newspapers that supported Obama in 2008. Nine still have yet to indicate whether they will wade into the race before the election.

Of the 89 newspapers reviewed that supported Obama in 2008, 35 are supporting him again. One campus paper, The Davidsonian of Davidson College in North Carolina, endorsed both candidates. But in a sign of the changing attitudes on college campuses, the pro-Obama endorsements hardly convey the sense of excitement that was typical four years ago from students.

“Some elections, like 2008, are about transformative, revolutionary change, about uprooting the status quo and enacting sweeping reforms,” the editors of Tufts Daily wrote in its endorsement of Obama. “2012 is not one of them.”

It’s plausible that some papers would take different editorial positions four years later because the newspaper staff from 2008 has graduated and a new staff has taken over. Still, Republicans say the number of college papers opting against endorsing this year is telling.

“When you’ve lost the liberal media on liberal campuses, perhaps you’re doing it wrong,” Alex Schriver, the chairman of the College Republican National Committee, told TheDC when given the figures on Sunday.

“This president spends one out of every ten days on a college campus – his staff one out of every three – and yet young people are turning their backs on his candidacy in record numbers,” Schriver said.

A spokesman for the College Democrats didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

As of Nov.5, of the 89 college newspapers that endorsed Obama in 2008…

43 are not endorsing any candidate this year:

1. Advance-Titan
2. Badger Herald
3. Central Florida Future
4. Daily Evergreen
5. Daily Illini
6. Daily Kent Stater
7. Daily Northwestern
8. Daily Texan
9. Indiana Daily Student
10. Iowa State Daily
11. Minnesota Daily
12. New University
13. Northern Star
14. Pipe Dream
15. The Amherst Student
16. The Bates Student
17. The Daily Cardinal
18. The Daily Nexus
19. The Independent Collegian
20. The Miami Student
21. The Middlebury Campus
22. The Orient
23. The Orion
24. The Pacer
25. The Phoenix
26. The Point News
27. The Reporter
28. The Tech
29. The University News
30. University Daily Kansan
31. The Berkeley Beacon
32. UVU Review
33. The Et Cetera
34. The Parthenon
35. BG News
36. Daily Tar Heel
37. Daily Trojan
38. The Arbiter
39. The California Aggie
40. The Cardinal Points
41. The Circle
42. The Tartan
43. Stanford Daily

1 is endorsing Romney:

1. The Daily Campus

1 is endorsing both Obama and Romney:

1. The Davidsonian

9 have not indicated if they are endorsing a candidate:

1. The Flat Hat
2. Fairfield Mirror
3. Hofstra Chronicle
4. The Collegian
5. The Daily Toreador
6. The Mac Weekly
7. The Miscellany News
8. The Sophian
9. The Stony Brook Statesman

Jill Gregorie contributed to this report

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