Poll: 2009 Stunk


2009For all their differences, Americans largely agree on two things: 2009 was a lousy year for the nation, and 2010 is likely to be better. Nearly three-fourths of Americans think 2009 was a bad year for th┬ácountry, which was rocked by job losses, home foreclosures and economic sickness. Forty-two percent rated it “very bad,” according to the latest AP-GfK poll.

That’s clearly worse than in 2006, the last time a similar poll was taken. The survey that year found that 58 percent of Americans felt the nation had suffered a bad year, and 39 percent considered it a good year.

Fewer than half as many people, 16 percent, said their family had a “very good year” in 2009 as said that in 2006.

Behind the gloominess, however, are more hopeful views that seem to reflect Americans’ traditional optimism or, perhaps, wishful thinking.

Even though most said it was a bad year for the country, three in five Americans said their own family had a good year in 2009, while about two in five called it a bad year.

Some 72 percent of Americans said they’re optimistic about what 2010 will bring for the country. Even more, four in five, are optimistic about what the year will bring for their families.

Curiously, however, nearly two-thirds think their family finances will worsen or stay about the same next year.

Every corner of the country saw steep job losses this year, and the national unemployment rate stands at 10 percent. Millions of Americans saw their savings or retirement accounts shrink, and many are rethinking how long they will have to work, and where they might find income.

Despite signs that the nation is edging away from the worst aspects of a severe recession, people remain largely downbeat about the economy. Fewer than half think the economy will get better in 2010, while slightly more than half think it will worsen or stay about the same.

Just over a third think their own family’s finances will get better, while almost two-thirds think their finances will stay the same or get worse.

Americans are not optimistic about the nation’s two wars. Thirty-one percent think the situation in Afghanistan will get better, while 67 percent think it stay the same or get worse. The results were about the same for Iraq.

Given that President Barack Obama took office in 2009 and Democrats enjoyed solid majorities in Congress, perhaps it’s not surprising that Democrats have a sunnier view of the current and coming years than do Republicans.

Only 10 percent of Republicans said 2009 was a good year, compared to about one-third of Democrats and independents. A whopping 87 percent of Democrats are optimistic about what 2010 will bring for the country, compared with 53 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of independents.

People’s views of their personal circumstances divide along partisan lines, too.

Only one in five Republicans think their family’s finances will improve in 2010. Nearly half of Democrats and 40 percent of independents hold that view.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Dec. 10-14 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media and involved landline and cell phone interviews of 1,001 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

{Washington National/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}