The Public's Not-So-Happy New Year

The American public begins the new year with a highly negative view of national conditions and tempered expectations for 2008. Half of Americans say that as far as they are concerned, 2008 will be a better year than 2007, while 34% say it will be worse. In December 2006, and in several end-of-year surveys during the 1990s, there was greater optimism about the coming year.

Public views of the state of the nation are even less positive than people's personal expectations for the coming year. Just 27% say they are satisfied with national conditions, while 66% are dissatisfied. Positive views of the state of the nation have been mired at about 30% for most of the past two years; in December 2006, 28% said they were satisfied with the way things were going in the country, while 65% were dissatisfied.

President Bush's approval rating also remains at a low point at the start of his final year in office. Just 31% approve of the president's job performance, while 60% disapprove. Bush's approval rating has been below 40% since February 2006.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 19-30, 2007, among 1,430 adults, finds that the public is looking forward to the presidential election much more than several other major events on the 2008 calendar. Fully 70% say they are especially looking forward to the November election, which is comparable to the proportion in January 1988 that said they were highly anticipating the presidential contest (74%).

Read the full report The Public's Not-So-Happy New Year on the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Web site.

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