Consumers say economy will influence their votes for president

Spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity and is a major component of more robust economic growth.

In the survey, 70 percent of respondents said the pending election and unfinished work by Congress is affecting their spending habits, while 64.2 percent said they will spend less in some way. 

Of those asked, 56.6 percent said they are aware of the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts set to go in effect in January without congressional action. A majority, 61.3 percent, said it is somewhat likely or very likely to affect how they vote. 

Overall, 92.7 percent of those surveyed said spending and tax issues will affect their vote in some way.

Meanwhile, while consumers say they are fretting about the economy, retail sales increased by 1.1 percent in September, further bolstering hopes for a solid holiday season, the Commerce Department reported on Monday. 

Sales were revised higher to 1.2 percent in August, the best showing in both months since October 2010. 

The NRF reported recently that it expects holiday sales to increase by 4.1 percent this year, a positive report considering the uncertainty clogging up economic growth and hampering consumer spending. 

The forecast is the best estimate since the recession ended and is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent.

Holiday sales in 2011 grew 5.6 percent.