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#Business : Americans Are Feeling Good About 2015, Poll Finds

Americans Are Feeling Good About 2015, Poll Finds

(WASHINGTON) — Americans are closing out 2014 on an optimistic note, according to

a new Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll. Nearly half predict that 2015

will be a better year for them than 2014 was, while only 1 in 10 think it will

be worse. There’s room for improvement: Americans give the year gone by a

resounding ‘meh.’

What Americans thought of 2014:


On a personal level, about a third (34 percent) think 2014 was better than

2013, while 15 percent say 2014 was worse and half see little difference.

Slightly fewer feel their year was a step down from the previous one than said

so in 2013, when an AP-Times Square poll found 20 percent thought 2013 was worse

than 2012.

Americans are slightly more likely than they were a year ago to believe that

the current year was better than the last for the United States— 30 percent say

so this year, while 25 percent said so in 2013. On the other hand, Americans are

more likely than in the 2013 poll to say this year was worse than last for the

world as a whole, with 38 percent saying so now after 30 percent said so a year



Americans are divided on the most important news event of 2014, with the rise

of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, protests over the killings of

black men including Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police officers, and the

Ebola outbreak each named by about 1 in 10 Americans. In a separate Associated

Press survey of news directors and editors, the killings of unarmed men by

police stand out more clearly as the top story, with 22 of 85 respondents

choosing it as the top news, about twice as many as the Islamic State or Ebola


Among the public, Democrats are most likely to name the unrest over Brown and

Garner’s deaths as most important (14 percent), while Republicans are most

likely to list the rise of the Islamic State (16 percent). Non-whites are more

apt to cite the protests around Brown and Garner’s deaths than whites (14

percent among non-whites, 8 percent among whites). The poll was conducted before

the shooting deaths of two New York City police officers by a man who threatened

retaliation for the police killings of unarmed black men.

Asked separately to rate the importance of 10 key stories, majorities call

the expansion of the Islamic State militant group, the Ebola outbreak and the

U.S. midterm elections extremely or very important stories. Nearly half rate

immigration as that important, while 43 percent say so of the Michael Brown and

Eric Garner stories. Only a third think the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines

Flight 370, the situation between Russia and Ukraine, or the rising number of

states with legal same-sex marriage were deeply important stories.


Few Americans rate this year’s crop of pop culture events as memorable, with

one big exception: The death of Robin Williams, and the ensuing discussion of

mental health issues. About two-thirds call that a memorable event.

Slightly more say it was more memorable (39 percent) than forgettable (34

percent) that CVS stopped selling cigarettes, and they’re divided equally on

whether the ubiquitous ice bucket challenge was memorable (37 percent) or

forgettable (37 percent). Thirty percent say the pitching performance of Mo’ne

Davis, the first female pitcher to win a Little League World Series game, was

memorable, while 41 percent say it was forgettable. Women are more likely than

men to see Davis’s performance as memorable, 33 percent of women say so versus

26 percent of men.

Another sports first: Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player

drafted into the NFL, is rated forgettable by about half.

Events rating as forgettable by a majority of Americans include the leak of

hacked celebrity photos on Reddit, Ellen DeGeneres’s selfie at the Oscars,

Taylor Swift going pop, and the marriages of George and Amal Clooney and Kim

Kardashian and Kanye West.


About half of Americans plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home this year,

while 2 in 10 say they’ll do so at a friend or family member’s home. Fewer than

1 in 10 plan to celebrate at a bar, restaurant or organized event, while about a

quarter don’t plan to celebrate at all.

Six in 10 Americans plan to watch the televised New Year’s Eve events in

Times Square, including two-thirds of women and over half of men.
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