According to the latest survey conducted by Pew Research Center (just last weekend, Oct 9-12), Americans are amazingly confident about the economy and their own financial condition. I say “amazingly” because I myself am hysterical!But Pew does very thorough attitude research and this survey is no exception. Here is their core observation:“… there is little indication that the nation’s financial crisis has triggered public panic or despair. Most Americans express confidence that the government still possesses the power to fix the economy, though that belief has lost adherents since July. There has been no decline in people’s perceptions of their own financial situations. Looking ahead to next year, Americans are more confident than they were in July about an improvement in the national economy and in their own personal finances. This is not to say that the public has been spared the effects of the financial crisis: Over the past three weeks, the percentages saying they plan to rein in spending in a number of areas have increased sharply.”As you see, the general confidence expressed — dare I say optimism? — still leaves consumers tightening their belts. This chart shows you how they are doing that:If only they had asked about charitable contributions!In my judgment, fundraisers should still be planning against very conservative assumptions. Still, it’s hopeful to see some sign that not everyone has become a quivering mass of jelly like me. I guess, on “economic future” issues, I’m what pollsters would dismiss as an “outlyer!”Tom

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