A consumer poll sponsored by Discover Card revealed American consumer confidence at its highest level in three years. Researchers commissioned by the credit card issuer asked 8,200 consumers about their spending intentions during November's pivotal holiday spending period. Although 45% of respondents still believe that the economy may get worse before it gets better, the 31% of Americans with a positive outlook represents more than a four point increase in optimism from October's survey results.

Researchers found more striking signs of an improved outlook when asking questions about holiday spending and credit card purchases. Compared to the same period a year ago, the percentage of Americans prepared to spend less on year-end gift giving decreased by nine percentage points. Although a similar poll in 2009 found more than half of consumers preparing to spend less during the holiday season, more of this year's shoppers intend to budget the same or more for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's gifts.

About the Author

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.