Optimism is sweeping the country unexpectedly (via Drudge):

U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to its highest level in five years in October as consumers became more optimistic about the overall economy in a possible boost to President Obama’s reelection hopes next month….

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary October reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 83.1, up from 78.3 the month before, and the highest since September 2007, the survey showed on Friday.

It was well above the median forecast for a slight decline to 78 among economists polled by Reuters.

The new buoyancy among consumers comes shortly after the U.S. unemployment rate tumbled to its lowest level in nearly four years in September as more people returned to the workforce and found jobs than economist had predicted….

Via MSN Money:

Consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in five years on Friday and may have signaled something that will make economic skeptics spit at their screens and scrawl lengthy screeds into comments fields well after Election Day.

It’s called a comeback.

The University of Michigan/Thompson Reuters (TRI -0.04%) consumer sentiment index for October rose to 83.1, its highest level since September 2007. No one seemed more surprised than the folks at the University of Michigan and Reuters, who expected the index to top out at 78.5.

Via MarketWatch:

A gauge of consumer sentiment jumped higher in early October, pushing past Wall Street’s expectations, according to reports on the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment gauge released Friday. The UMich sentiment gauge rose to 83.1 in a preliminary October reading from a final September reading of 78.3. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected little change, anticipating the index to decline to 78 in early October.

All the economists are shocked. There is nothing economically that would justify such a bounce. The October 5 jobs report release, which at best was a mixed bag, can’t possibly explain the jump.

But there is something that may explain it.

The unexpected bounce in consumer sentiment coincides with the aftermath of the October 3 debate, after which Romney has soared in the polls.

Cause and effect?

With economists scratching their heads for an economic explanation, the rise of Romney is just as plausible.  People are feeling more confident, spending more, engaging in more economic activity, and planning more.

Obama is being given credit for an unexpected bounce in consumer sentiment which may be driven by the possibility that Obama will be defeated.