It appears there is a potentially huge problem for Democrats going into the 2010 election cycle: young people simply are not voting. Part of Martha Coakley’s problem in Massachusetts was the incredibly low turnout among voters between 18-29. The findings of a Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement poll state:

About 15% of Massachusetts citizens between the ages of 18-29 turned out to vote.* For citizens age 30 and older, turnout was about 57%.

For comparison: 25% of young citizens (age 18-29) voted in the 2008 Massachusetts presidential primaries, and 47.8% of young Massachusetts citizens voted in the 2008 presidential elections, according to CIRCLE’s analysis. Seventy-eight percent of under-30 voters in Massachusetts chose Barack Obama in the 2008 general election; 20% chose John McCain.

This was not a one-time event. Youth turnout in the 2009 gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey was similarly very low.

While national youth turnout was very strong in 2008 (when 52% of young American citizens voted), youth turnout in the 2009 Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial races was poor (17% and 19%, respectively), and even lower in Massachusetts this Tuesday.

Young people tend to favor the Democratic party. If the party is unable to increase youth turnout in 2010, it could turn out a very bad year for the Democratic party.