Americans are oddly optimistic

Public opinion polls became a huge focus in 2012, thanks in large part to the data-aggregating of Nate Silver. It should come as not surprise then that 2103 would start out with organizations like Gallup making headlines.Just released is Gallup’s most recent


survey of “optimism” about the coming year. Oddly, while many in the U.S. have no confidence that the economy will improve, a significant majority (69%) think that life will improve for themselves and their families. Only 27% expressed pessimism. As Gallup states:

“As is usually the case, Americans are much more positive when asked to reflect on their own personal situation than when asked about the broader situation across the country. Gallup previously reported on Americans’ negativity about the prospects for the U.S. economy and the international situation in 2013. The 69% of Americans who are personally optimistic about 2013 contrasts with the 33% who say that 2013 will be a year of economic prosperity, and the 23% who say 2013 will be a year of international peace.

“Personal optimism about 2013 varies across major demographic and regional categories, although in some cases not as much as might be expected:

  • There is little significant difference in personal optimism across socioeconomic segments of the population, perhaps surprisingly. Those with higher levels of education and higher incomes are generally no more optimistic than those with lower socioeconomic status.
  • Optimism declines with age, ranging from 80% of 18- to 29-year-olds who are optimistic about their personal situation in 2013 to 54% of those aged 65 and older.
  • Women are slightly more optimistic than men.
  • Easterners and Westerners are modestly more optimistic than those living in the South and in the Midwest.
  • Nonwhites are more optimistic than whites.”

For a complete breakdown and charts, see: