A record number of consumers in July rated the economy as poor and said their personal finances were getting worse, according to a survey released this week by Discover Financial Services. The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor, a monthly index of consumer spending intentions established at a score of 100 in May 2007, rose slightly in July to 86.1, one-tenth of a point higher than in June. Overall, 54% of consumers surveyed said the economy is poor, and 73% said they believe the economy is getting worse. For the first time, survey respondents said the declining values of their homes and investment portfolios are affecting their spending. Some 50% of consumers surveyed said concern over the falling value of their homes is affecting their overall spending, and 52% said investment-portfolio declines are dampening their spending. For the first time in six months, there was a decrease, to 42%, in the number of consumers who said they expected an added expense or an income shortfall within the next 30 days. Some 53% of survey respondents said they expected to have money left over after paying their bills in July, and of those who expected to have money left over, 29% reported having less money than the previous month. Rasmussen Reports conducts the survey monthly, based on a random sample of 15,000 U.S. adults interviewed by telephone each evening throughout the month.

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