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Slightly Less Pessimism

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It could hardly have gotten worse, but consumer confidence seems to have gotten a shade less awful in the past few weeks. Anyhow, Gallup's tracking poll on the topic finds pessimism "easing slightly."

In mid-October, 60 percent of Gallup respondents rated the economy as "poor." In the past two weeks, the "poor" tally has fallen to a mere 55 percent. (These days, you take your good news as you find it.) Along the same lines, the percentage of respondents saying the economy is getting worse has also fallen a bit, from 88 percent to 84 percent.

Gallup notes that the financial crisis had its "most pronounced effect" on upper-income Americans, since they were the ones losing money like crazy when the markets went haywire. But they, too, have perked up a bit in the past few weeks. The proportion of upper-income respondents rating the economy as poor has fallen from 58 percent to 49 percent, and the proportion saying the economy is worsening has declined from 92 percent to 84 percent.