In 2010, 26-year-old Dani Vilagie and her mother launched a baking business from their kitchen. Today, Wicked Good Cupcakes, based in Cohasset, Mass., is a rising success. They ship nationwide -- and for this young entrepreneur, the state of the country's economy matters.
"Being in a small business, I want the next candidate to help all the small businesses out there who are struggling or not struggling," said Vilangie.
Vilagie is a member of the millennial generation, those who came of age near the turn of the century and beyond. Millennials make up the single largest generation in American history and are a powerful voting bloc.
In 2008, the youth vote helped secure the White House for then Sen.-Barack Obama. But with a new election cycle underway, John Della Volpe, the director of polling at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, believes the youth vote is up for grabs.
"I'm not predicting, nor should anyone think, that Republicans will outright win the youth vote, but if they can lose them less badly than they have in the past -- in other words, if they cover the spread and lose to Democrats in single numbers -- I think that opens up the board," said Della Volpe.
He argues millennials are to some extent two parts of one generation -- those who clearly remember 9/11 and helped to elect President Obama in 2008 and those who came after.
"The younger members of this generation, those that came of age a little bit later, remember not the movement of the Obama campaign and electing the first African-American president. But they remember 2009, 2010, when we had gridlock and recession and their friends and family and neighbors losing things, losing their jobs, losing houses," said Della Volpe. "It's a very different angle of which they came of age politically."
Both parties may struggle to earn the trust of millennials.
Allyson Perez, a junior at Harvard, believes the economy, foreign policy and health care are all important issues. She's an undecided voter.
"I have seen a lot of political gridlock and a lot of different factors in Washington that have made me think that I'm not really sure what party that I believe in," said Perez. "Going into 2016, I think I'm just really looking at all of the candidates and seeing what they believe."
Perez is frustrated by the endless bickering she sees in the political world and wants a leader who will unite, not divide.
"I just really want to see someone who can bring people together and forget all the partisanship and see what can work in Washington and make Washington work again," Perez said.
Drew Weber, vice president of New York University's College Democrats, questions the priorities of politicians.
"Are they just representing large corporations, are they just representing billionaires, are they just representing who is going to cut them the next check? Or do they really care about the needs of people and what they need to get ahead in this country?" Weber asked.
In 2012, 18-29-year-olds made up 17 percent of the electorate with 41 percent voter turnout, according to Fox News Exit Polls and turnout rates from United States Elections Project. They gave Obama 60 percent of their votes.
The question remains: which candidate will draw the youth vote in 2016?
"I'm hoping a lot of my generation will stand up, make the smart decision and vote for someone who's going to help us out," said Vilagie.