As 2018 comes to a close, Americans are taking time to reflect on what they think was a pretty good year. In terms of their own personal life, 56% of the nation’s voters think the past 12 months turned into a good or excellent year. Sadly, though, 12% had a poor year.
But, looking ahead, Americans have high hopes for the new year. Seventy-seven percent (77%) expect 2019 will be a good or an excellent year. Nineteen percent (19%) say it will be just a fair year while 5% say poor.
As the new year draws near, 51% of Americans say their finances are in good or excellent shape. Thirty-two percent (32%) say fair and just 16% feel that their finances are in poor shape.
Looking ahead, 50% expect their own finances will be better a year from today Another 39% think they’ll hold their own and only 11% expect their finances to get worse.
There’s quite a generation gap in terms of financial expectations. Most voters under 50 expect things to get better. Most senior citizens expect little change. Those aged 50-64 are somewhere in between: 42% think their finances will get better while 44% say things will remain as they are.
As for their health, most (55%) expect little to change. That’s not so bad when you consider that 76% currently rate their health as good or excellent. Still, 37% expect their health to be better in a year and just 9% expect decline.
While Americans are quite optimistic on a personal basis heading into the new year, their assessments for the United States as a whole are not quite as upbeat. Forty-six percent (46%) of all voters believe the year we are leaving behind was good or excellent for the country. Nineteen percent (19%) believe it was a poor year.
Still, even hopes for the nation are modestly more optimistic. Fifty-six percent (56%) expect 2019 to be a good or excellent year, 31% say fair, and 13% poor.
Some might find the disconnect between high personal expectations and more modest hope for the nation to be a bit odd. Many in the political world have a hard time separating politics from their personal life.
However, that’s not the case for most Americans. Only 23% of voters consider their political affiliations are a very important part of their self-identity.
To put that into perspective, people are more likely see music and schools they attended as part of their identity than to see politics in that way. In fact, political affiliations barely beat out favorite sports teams (20%) and artistic endeavors (17%) as an important piece of individual self-identity.
So, while the toxic dialogue of modern politics is discouraging, most Americans look elsewhere to gain a sense of how things are going. Seventy-two percent (72%) say that their children are a Very Important part of their self-identity. That number is really significant when you realize that many younger voters do not yet have children.
Other items near the top of the list were being an American (68%), the immediate family someone grew up with (63%), extended family (48%), and faith or religion (47%).
However you see yourself, I hope that you have a wonderful new year and a blessed 2019.