Americans Hopeful for a Better 2017
Americans are entering 2017 are entering 2017 on an optimistic note after emotionally wrenching politics, foreign conflicts and shootings at home took a toll on them in 2016.
According to an Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll:
Americans weren't thrilled with the year. Only 18 percent said things for the country got better, 33 percent said things got worse, and 47 percent said it was unchanged from 2015.
On a personal level, they were optimistic about 2017.
Fifty-five percent 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.
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.
The U.S. elections top Americans' list of 10 top news events in 2016. Three-quarters called the presidential election and Trump's victory very or extremely important.
Sixty-three percent ranked mass shootings and bombings in Orlando, Florida, and in Belgium, Turkey, Pakistan and France as personally important news stories of the year.
Fifty-one percent said they found news stories about the deaths of people at the hands of police officers, or news about ambush attacks on police in three states, to be among the year's most important news events.
Fourth on the list are 43 percent who described the spread of the Zika virus as important.
The three events described by the largest percentages of Americans as not too important included the death of Muhammad Ali (50 percent), approval of recreational marijuana use in four states (43 percent), and the death of Fidel Castro (40 percent).
A majority of Americans, including 7 in 10 Midwesterners, called November's World Series win for the Chicago Cubs to end their 108-year drought memorable.
Of nine other pop-culture items tested, two were called memorable by about half of Americans: the death of Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen; and the Olympic victories of the U.S. women's gymnastics team.
The two least-notable events for Americans, of the 10 possible choices in the poll, were the Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt divorce filing and the "Pokemon Go" app game phenomenon, each described by most as forgettable.
About half of Americans plan to celebrate the New Year at home. About 2 in 10 plan to go out to a friend or family member's home, and 1 in 10 to a bar or restaurant. About a quarter don't plan to celebrate at all.
About 6 in 10 plan to watch the Times Square ball drop, nearly all of whom will watch on TV.