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Consumer Confidence Highest Since Before Recession, Survey Says

Here's news that could affect both the economy and the presidential race:

Consumer confidence has improved "in each of the past nine monthly surveys" and is now at "its highest level since October 2007," according to the latest Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. The most recent recession officially began in December 2007, and lasted into early summer 2009.

Since consumers purchase about 70 percent of all the goods and services that businesses produce, they are a critical driving force for the economy. And, since many consumers also vote, how they feel could help determine which candidate gets their support.

But Richard Curtin, chief economist for the survey, notes in his analysis that "consumer confidence was nearly as high in the past two years before the gains were reversed. While gas prices and economic policy debates played a role in the pull backs, changes in job expectations also had a critical impact."

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