Gen­eral op­ti­mism for 2017

Poll finds Amer­i­cans hope­ful for a bet­ter year

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Emily Swan­son and Verena Dobnik

new york» Emo­tion­ally wrench­ing pol­i­tics, for­eign con­flicts and shoot­ings at home took a toll on Amer­i­cans in 2016, but peo­ple across the coun­try are en­ter­ing 2017 on an op­ti­mistic note, ac­cord­ing to a poll that found that a ma­jor­ity be­lieves things are go­ing to get bet­ter for the coun­try next year.

A look at the key find­ings of the As­so­ci­ated PressTimes Square Al­liance poll:

So how was 2016?

Amer­i­cans weren’t thrilled with the year. Only 18 per­cent said things for the coun­try got bet­ter, 33 per­cent said things got worse, and 47 per­cent said it was un­changed from 2015.

On a per­sonal level, they were op­ti­mistic about 2017.

Fifty-five per­cent said they be­lieve things will be bet­ter for them in the com­ing year than in the year that just con­cluded. That’s a 12-point im­prove­ment from last year’s poll.

Amer­i­cans in­ter­viewed about the poll’s re­sults ex­pressed some of that op­ti­mism.

“Next year will be bet­ter than this year, be­cause peo­ple will have more jobs and they’ll have more money to spend,” said Bourema Tam­boura, a Har­lem res­i­dent.

“I’m hop­ing 2017 will be bet­ter,” said El­iz­a­beth Flynn, 62, an el­e­men­tary school­teacher from Pe­abody, Mass. “You’ve got to be op­ti­mistic, and I’m go­ing to try.”

Democrats are more likely than Repub­li­cans to say 2016 was worse for the coun­try than 2015. And Repub­li­cans are es­pe­cially likely to feel that 2017 will be even bet­ter for them per­son­ally.

Univer­sity of Mi­ami pro­fes­sor Ben­jamin Al­sup said he needed only three words to ex­plain why 2016 felt worse for him: “Trump, Trump, Trump!”

Robert Green­stone, a New York com­mer­cial real es­tate bro­ker, said the po­lit­i­cal dis­course lead­ing up to Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent played havoc with peo­ple’s emo­tions: “The amount of dis­in­for­ma­tion made peo­ple sus­pect of ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­one, even their neigh­bors.”

U.S. elec­tion

The U.S. elec­tion topped Amer­i­cans’ list of 10 top news events in 2016. Three­quar­ters called the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and Trump’s vic­tory very or ex­tremely im­por­tant.

Sixty-three per­cent ranked mass shoot­ings and bomb­ings in Or­lando, Fla.; Bel­gium; Turkey; Pak­istan; and France as per­son­ally im­por­tant news sto­ries of the year.

Fifty-one per­cent said they found news sto­ries about the deaths of peo­ple at the hands of po­lice of­fi­cers or news about am­bush at­tacks on po­lice in three states to be among the year’s most im­por­tant news events.

Fourth on the list are 43 per­cent who de­scribed the spread of the Zika virus as im­por­tant.

Ring­ing in

About half of Amer­i­cans plan to cel­e­brate the New Year at home. About two in 10 plan to go out to a friend’s or fam­ily mem­ber’s home, and one in 10 to a bar or restau­rant. About a quar­ter don’t plan to cel­e­brate at all. About six in 10 plan to watch the Times Square ball drop.

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