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Tue, Nov 09, 2004 - Page 12 News List

US consumers less confident in wake of presidential poll


Consumer confidence in the days following the presidential election fell from the levels of early last month, led by higher economic worries among Democrats and some independents.

The AP-Ipsos consumer confidence index from polling conducted Nov. 3-5 dipped to 89.8, down from 97.6 in early last month. The index was above 100 in late summer, near its high for the year.

The index is benchmarked to a 100 reading on January 2002, the month the index was started by Ipsos.

The drop in consumer confidence was led by growing worries about the economy in the next six months. A sub-index looking at consumer expectations dropped to 89.9, from 98.3 a month ago.

The drop was led by increased fears among Democrats and some political independents after the re-election of President George W. Bush, a Republican.

"I'm more worried about the economy," said Susan Norvell, a Democrat from Salisbury, North Carolina. "We would have been in better shape if Senator [John] Kerry had won. We've had a lot of closings in our area. A lot of jobs have been lost -- some of it to outsourcing. People have to be retrained and that takes time."

Overall consumer confidence was slightly lower than a year ago, when it was 94.4, but higher than it was for much of last year.

While expectations about the coming months dropped, other components of the index remained about the same. Sub-indexes that remained near their October levels were focused on jobs, 103.9; current economic conditions, 98.6; and investment, 96.

The AP-Ipsos index on consumer attitudes on spending by household is compiled from a series of poll questions about the economy, personal finances, the investment climate and jobs.

Economic signals in this country have been mixed in recent weeks, with modest job growth, sluggish productivity and overall economic growth from July to September that was higher than in the spring, but lower than analysts expected.

Republicans were far more likely than Democrats or independents to say they expect the local economy in their area will be stronger in six months.

"I'm extremely optimistic about the economy because of the president being back in office," said Molly Maurino, a Republican and college teacher from Sacramento, California. "Republicans aren't dependent on the government taking care of them. I will take care of myself. That's what President Bush represents."

The AP-Ipsos consumer confidence index is based on a poll of 1,000 adults taken Nov. 3-5, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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