Local polls are an awful bringdown these days, and the new Siena Research Institute survey on the economy is no exception. The state's consumer confidence index dropped half a point this month
. Siena says U.S. consumer confidence is up 7.8 points, though the Conference Board has it slightly down
; in either case New Yorkers aren't ringing any bells. Buying plans are up for home improvements and furniture (maybe used, to burn in lieu of oil heat), and down for computers, homes, and (post-Clunkers
) cars. Downstate New Yorkers (that's us) are less pessimistic than those living upstate ("Downstaters see a half full future economic glass while Upstaters say, 'our cup is empty'"). And 41 percent of New Yorkers are worried about the cost of gas and food, though that number's way down from July, when 71 percent were concerned. There's your silver lining!