Americans Are Hopeful 2017 Will Suck Less Than This Year

Photo: John Minchillo/ AP Photo.
This January 1, 2014 file photo shows revelers cheering under falling confetti at the stroke of midnight during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square.
Many Americans reflecting on the last year agree that 2016 was a rough one. There were emotionally wrenching politics, foreign conflicts, and mass shootings at home. Some of our most beloved celebrities died. This all took a toll on Americans in 2016. But we are entering 2017 on an optimistic note, according to a new survey. The Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll found that a majority believes things are going to get better for the country next year. The poll confirmed what many of us already knew: Americans weren't thrilled with the year. Only 18% said things for the country got better, 33% said things got worse, and 47% said it was unchanged from 2015. But on a personal level, they were optimistic about 2017. More than half — 55% — 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. "I'm hoping 2017 will be better," said Elizabeth Flynn, 62, an elementary schoolteacher from Peabody, MA. "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!" On that note, the U.S. elections topped Americans' list of 10 top news events in 2016. Three-quarters of people surveyed by the poll called the presidential election and Trump's victory very or extremely important.

The AP-Times Square Alliance poll of 1,007 adults was conducted online from December 9 through 11, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus three percentage points.

The poll is a cooperative effort between AP and the organizers of the Times Square New Year's Eve Celebration, the Times Square Alliance, and Countdown Entertainment. The Alliance is a nonprofit group that seeks to promote Times Square, and Countdown Entertainment represents the owners of One Times Square and the New Year's Eve Ball Drop.

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