Spending Plans May Reflect Perceived Improvement in Financial Situation and Less Concern About Repaying DebtGap Between Affluent and Poor WidensWASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More consumers plan to spend more than last year, and fewer consumers less than last year, according to the 13th annual holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). In the past year, the percentage who said they would spend more than last year rose from 8 to 12, and the percentage who said they would spend less declined from 41 to 38. These differences are statistically significant. In both years, the survey questions were developed by CFA and CUNA and were administered to a representative sample of adult Americans by ORC International in early November (9-13 this year). This year, 660 persons were interviewed by landline and 352 by cell phone. "Our survey results suggest that holiday spending this year will likely rise by between 3.5% and 4% compared to last year," said Bill Hampel, Chief Economist for the Credit Union National Association. "This represents the fourth year of gradual improvement in holiday spending plans since a sharp decline in such plans in 2008." The intention of consumers to increase holiday spending from last year is consistent with, and may well reflect, perceived improvement in their financial situation. From 2011 to 2012, the percentage who said their financial situation was better than a year ago rose from 19 to 24, and the percentage who said it was worse fell from 37 to 33. Again, the change is statistically significant. Despite the rise of student debt and continued concern about mortgage debt, the percentage of those who said they were concerned about meeting monthly debt payments fell from 45 to 43 percent. And those who said they were unconcerned rose marginally from 38 to 39 percent. One factor here might be the increasing percentage -- 19 to 24 percent in the past year -- who said they did not have any credit card payments.