I don't understand how this news is unexpected; even the article refutes its own headline:
"The unexpected decline means optimism is under more pressure than we thought," said Patrick Fearon, senior economist at A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. Fearon believes all the political uncertainty is also weighing on consumers' confidence.Three major hurricanes have reminded us we're at the mercy of nature just as home heating prices have risen. Gas prices have dropped, but they're still very high by recent standards. Oh, and people are starting to realize, with Bush's nomination of a crony to the highest court in the land and the rumblings of criminal activity within his White House, that the country, already dangerously off course, is being steered by a bozo. Yeah, that might take a toll on consumer confidence, mightn't it?
"There is certainly more going on than just hurricanes and a resulting spike in gasoline prices," said Fearon. He noted President Bush's drop in approval ratings, political unrest in the Middle East and concerns about the Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers "could weigh on people's attitudes."