As the most expensive presidential election in history winds down, it has left both liberal and conservative voters, and everyone in between, waiting to see what might come next. As the last week comes to an end, Senator Barack Obama sustains a 49% to 46% lead over Senator John McCain, according to Gallup polls. College students, ages 18-24, are suspected to have more of an impact in this presidential election than ever before.

According to CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement), presidential elections always turn out a larger voting number than other election years. In 2004, a mere 51% of 18-24 year olds voted, an increase of just 11% from 2000; however, a record number of young voters are supposed to turn out this year.

This voting year has generated more interest in the 18-24 year old voting group, proven by the record spending and targeting of young voters by each candidate. Although there are many reasons for a rejuvenated interest in this particular election, college students say that their number-one reason to vote this year reflects the situation regarding the economy. “There has been more talk among me and my friends because of the economic problems we’re facing, it’s disconcerting. It has made me realize that things are closer to home than we realize,” said Benita Bates, 22, a political science major.

With only seven days before the election ends, Obama has the youth and older-age brackets leaning left. With 11 states up for grab, and a total of 122 electoral votes, a dramatic rise in the college-aged voters could have a huge impact on the results of the election.