By Bernie Becker - 01/03/12 06:36 PM EST
A boost in consumer confidence likely bodes well for the economy as a whole, with the American recovery likely to play a major role in President Obama’s bid for a second term this year.
The Institute for Supply Management survey, released Tuesday, found the manufacturing sector expanded more quickly in December than November, and for the 29th consecutive month.
Both releases come just days before the federal government announces its latest jobs numbers, with the unemployment rate currently at 8.6 percent.
Gallup bases its economic index on two questions: what respondents think of the current economic conditions, and whether they think the economy is improving. A value of less than zero generally means that more Americans than not have a pessimistic take on the economy.
The polling company also found that wealthier Americans are more bullish about the economy’s future than lower-income residents. That situation, Gallup reported, is a switch from August, when the United States suffered its first-ever credit downgrade from Standard & Poor’s.