Come on, we need a little more enthusiasm, students,” President Obama said during a campaign stop in Virginia today. He had to beg for the applause after noting that class is back in session, but he was clearly working throughout the speech to shore up the youth vote.

“[Republicans] will tell you how bad things are over and over again, and they’ll helpfully add that it’s all Obama’s fault,” Obama said in Charlottesville. “And what they’re hoping is that even if you don’t vote for them because you know that what they’re peddling doesn’t work, what they do hope is, is that you get so discouraged that you just stay home.”

Mitt Romney broke the 40 percent barrier in a recent poll of his support among young people.  “This is the first time I am seeing Romney’s numbers this high among 18-29 year olds,” pollster John Zogby told The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard in August. “This could be trouble for Obama who needs every young voter he can get.”

Obama made that clear today. ” I need you,” he said. “America needs you to close the gap between what is and what might be.”

Bedard also reported that 76 percent of 18-29 year olds are expected to vote this year, up from 51 percent in 2008. The surge is driven by anger over the economy, according to Generation Opportunity.

The youth unemployment rate is 17.1 percent, according to a new report from the Labor Department.