First the good news: Some young voters (18-29) did show up on Tuesday to vote in the midterm elections. In fact, according a preliminary estimate from CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Reasearch on Civic Learning and Engagement), at least 9.9 million (of a possible 46 million) millennials came out to vote, representing 21.3% of the largest youth voting bloc in the nation's history.
The numbers are significant, because midterm elections tend to have much lower overall turnout than presidential election years, especially for the youth, who this year made up 13% of the total U.S. voting public, according to early estimates.
And in a year when the Republican party swept to victory in many national and state contests, securing the GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, 18- to 29-year-olds continued a trend of generally voting for Democratic candidates.
Still, the International Business Times reported that even in the states where young voters heavily favored Democratic candidates, their votes were not enough to tip the scales. In North Carolina, for instance, 54% of millennials went for Democratic nominee Sen. Kay Hagan, but she still lost to Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis.
Similarly, 59% of millennials went for Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn in Georgia, who went down to defeat to David Perdue, who only got 39% of the youth vote.
Part of that is due to the fact that the voting public in midterms tends to be much older than in presidential years -- such as 2008 and 2012, when President Obama was able to bring out a groundswell of young voters twice -- with those over age 60 typically outnumbering voters under 30 by a 2-to-1 margin, according to NBC News.
CIRCLE reported that early national exit polls in House races showed that 18- to 29-year-olds chose Democrat candidates by a 54 to 43 percent margin.
So what does it all mean for the next presidential contest in 2016? According to MSNBC, the results are proof that Democrats still enjoy a big advantage over Republicans when it comes to young voters, but continue to struggle to get those youthful voices to chime in during off-cycle years.
And when it comes to one of the issues that tops the agenda for many millennials, organizers of many state-level marriage equality efforts — including those in the crucial swing state of Ohio — decided to hold their fire in 2014 in order to make a run at getting measures on the ballot in the next election cycle, when youth voting numbers should predictably spike once more.
Did you vote in the 2014 midterm elections? Tell us why or why not in the comments!