Polls Find Less Fear and Higher Expectation of Economic Recovery

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NEW YORK ( -- The mood and confidence of the American public appears to be rising at a faster pace than many expected in the immediate wake of September's terrorist
attacks, according to the latest round of polls and surveys.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which in October plummeted 11.5 points to its lowest level -- 85.5 points -- since 1994, has rebounded to 93.7. The index is based on a monthly survey of 5,000 U.S. households conducted by NFO WorldGroup; the latest findings were released on Dec. 28.

80% optimistic
Meanwhile, Washington Post/ABC poll results released yesterday indicate that a majority of Americans believe that they and their country have changed for the better as a result of September's catastrophe and the subsequent national war effort. The poll, taken among adults across the country on Dec. 18-19, found that 80% are optimistic about the coming year.

A second, parallel poll, conducted for the Associated Press by International Communications Research of Media also found that a majority of the population believes that country is headed in the right direction and expects some level of economic recovery soon. More than 52% expect their family's financial situation to improve during the next twelve months.

Less worried about attacks
The AP poll also found that people are generally fearful of potential terrorist attacks in American cities in 2002 but they are less worried about it. Only 23% now believe that an attack is "very likely" -- a dramatic drop from the 48% who felt that same way in October.

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