As the Republicans move closer to choosing a candidate to run against President Barack Obama, Hans Olsen talks to Senior Editor Lorie Konish about his firm's research into the psyche of the American consumer and how investors should look at this year's presidential election.

1. What conclusions have you drawn from your elections report? As far as any durable predictive ability, there's something more that's insightful from this, which is, if I were running for reelection, it's essentially an exercise in winning a consumer. What does the consumer look like, and what are my chances for reelection? And from that, you start from the position that the incumbent has a considerable advantage, because they have power, they have the levers of power. And so if I were an incumbent, I would be saying... things are looking better. Look at what happened during Christmas. The retailers are in a better mood. People obviously had a great Christmas, and oh, by the way, unemployment is beginning to kick down. It's really about the consumer and thinking about the election as a consumer test.

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