Here's what this study revealed: 'According to Democrats, the economy is in serious trouble; according to Republicans, the future is looking rosy.' 'These opinions all have real consequences. Our financial expectations affect how we save and spend, and all these individual choices, in turn, affect the trajectory of the economy at large.' 'On a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represents complete pessimism and 100 represents complete optimism, left-leaning Americans rate the economy in the low 40s on average, while right-leaning Americans rate it in the mid-70s.' And then this finding, which gets right to the impact on retail sales: 'Right now, for instance, 46 percent of right-leaning Americans say it’s a good time to make major household purchases — but only 22 percent of left-leaning Americans agree.' Ahh yes. This all makes sense. We long have held that the true leading indicator of retail sales is consumer confidence. And in today's world, according to this study, more than ever before, consumer confidence – the consumer's 'state of mind' – is closely linked to political allegiances. (A 'Red State of Mind?' Or 'Blue State of Mind?') This could explain a lot about sales trends, whether you have 1 store or 100 stores. Consider where your stores are located: Red States or Counties? Blue States or Counties? Then, take another look at your sales trends. (With multiple stores, just sort them into two groups – Red or Blue – and total the performance for each of those groups.) Best of all, this new perspective for you savvy merchants may enable you to sharpen your competitive edge even more. Knowledge is power; more knowledge about your customers is the most powerful of all.