Mood of the Nation: Some optimism amid struggles - Article Photos 1/5

In this Oct. 17, 2012, photo, Adrienne Cragnotti, 46, a self-employed photographer, right, poses for a photo with her long-time boyfriend, Mike, an unemployed copy editor, in Chicago. Cragnotti makes about $2,000 a month from photography (though she puts half of it back into the business) and $1,100 a month in rental income from a house in Los Angeles that she bought in 2000 and has been renting out for the last three years. Polls consistently find that the economy is the top concern of voters, and Romney tends to get an edge over Obama when people are asked who might do better with it. Whether that truly drives how Americans vote is a crucial question for Election Day. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)