While support for President Bush among voters ages 18 to 29 is slipping, support among young voters for still-undeclared independent presidential candidate Ross Perot has almost doubled since the early spring.
The Gallup Poll shows support for Mr. Bush slipping from 48 percent to 34 percent since the early spring -- the largest decline in Mr. Bush's standing among an age group. Based on interviewing conducted in March and April, 19 percent of voters under 30 backed Mr. Perot; his support level increased to 37 percent last month.
Bill Clinton has failed to gain ground among young voters in recent months, but his efforts to court the "twentysomething" vote may bear fruit as his positions on issues become better known.
Gallup polls this year have found many young voters feeling closer to the Democrats than the Republicans on issues of particular concern to their generation, including abortion and the environment.
Before the 1984 presidential election, young voters were generally regarded as another Democratic constituency, along with such groups as blacks and residents of big cities. Gallup's final pre-election polls in presidential elections from 1952 to 1980 found Democratic candidates consistently running stronger among the youngest voters.
That pattern was broken in 1984 when Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory over Walter Mondale. Democrat Mondale's support among young voters -- 40 percent -- was no higher than his support among voters of all ages -- 41 percent.
In 1988, the direction of the youth vote turned around completely. Gallup's final poll before the election showed the Republican candidate's share of the under-30 vote -- 63 percent for George Bush -- exceeding his share of the overall vote -- 54 percent.
The survey was based on telephone interviews June 4-14 with 428 registered voters, from ages 18 to 29.