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Voters Had Hope All Along, Consumer Survey Finds

Stocks in this article: DFS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Perhaps Americans knew all along that President Barack Obama deserved another term in office -- they certainly had already given the economy a vote of confidence.

In fact, according to the Discover (DFS) U.S. Spending Monitor, consumers are more bullish on the economy than at any point in at least the past five years.

Discover says its consumer confidence index rose 6.8% from September to October. In its monthly survey of 8,200 U.S. adults, the financial services firm says its index has pointed steadily upward since August, where the index stood at 88.6.

By September, the index rose to 91.3, and by October, to 98.1.

The number of Americans who see the U.S. economy as "improving" rose from 26% in August to 35% in October, and the number of Americans who see their personal finances "improving" rose from 20% to 28% over the same period.

Those are fairly robust numbers, and could help explain why U.S. voters decided to keep Obama on the job. Certainly, the housing numbers have improved, as evidenced by the National Association of Home Builder's most recent survey, which shows U.S. regional real estate markets improving across the board.

In addition, the real estate analytical firm CoreLogic says that U.S. home values have risen by 5% on a year-to-year basis.

The jobs picture isn't as bright, with unemployment at 7.9% and millions of American either out of work or working part-time and wanting full-time work.

But overall, Americans are taking the "glass half-full" view, with men and women bullish on the economy.

The number of men who view the economy as favorable rose by 7% last month, while women's view on the economy increased by 4%, according to Discover. But only 31% of men expected their personal financial situation to improve in November, and 25% of women.

There is income disparity cooked into the Discover numbers: 46% of survey respondents with annual incomes greater than $75,000 say the economy is on the upswing, but only 35% of U.S. adults earning between $40,000 and $75,000 say the same thing. For Americans with incomes under $40,000, that number falls to 28% who say the economy is improving.

Lastly, it seems Americans are committed to spending again, which is another boost for the economy, as roughly two-thirds of the U.S. gross domestic products comes from the wallets and pocketbooks of average Americans.

The Discover index says 51% of Americans plan to spend as much or more in November than they did in October -- up 2% from the previous month.

All told, it's as bullish a picture on the U.S. economy as consumers have painted in years.

It also could help explain why Obama will once again be taking the oath of office come January, 2013.

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