Cockeyed Optimists or Self-Fulfilling Prophets?

Out here on the frontiers of American public opinion, a faint but discernible breath of optimism is dusting the plains. This, even as economic experts warn of a slow recovery from the current severe recession and a record number of Americans express dissatisfaction with their current financial situation. Are average Americans prescient predictors of the state of the economy? Incurable believers in a better tomorrow? Or carriers in an epidemic of Obama Optimism?

The question is brought into focus by findings from recent surveys that show modest but consistent improvement in expectations about the nation's economy. One example: A May Pew Research survey found more than half of the public (53%) saying the government is on the right track in handling the nation's economic problems, whereas as recently as mid-January, only 31% held that view. Also in May, only 31% of the public reported hearing mostly bad news about the economy; at the end of last year a massive 80% said so.

Pew Research's latest poll shows slightly more than half (52%) still rate the nation's economic conditions poor, but that is down from 68% in March and 71% in February, while 63% expect their own financial situation to improve at least some over the next year.

Read the full report Cockeyed Optimists or Self-Fulfilling Prophets? on the Pew Research Center's Web site.

America’s Overdose Crisis
America’s Overdose Crisis

America’s Overdose Crisis

Sign up for our five-email course explaining the overdose crisis in America, the state of treatment access, and ways to improve care

Sign up
Quick View

America’s Overdose Crisis

Sign up for our five-email course explaining the overdose crisis in America, the state of treatment access, and ways to improve care

Sign up
Article

37 Scientists Pioneering the Future of Biomedical Research

Quick View
Article

Biomedical researchers are at the heart of nearly every medical advancement. From cutting-edge cancer treatments to breakthrough discoveries about emerging viruses, these scientists use creativity and ingenuity to explore new horizons in human health and medicine. And for nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career researchers committed to this work.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?