The American public begins the new year with a highly negative view of national conditions and tempered expectations for 2008; half of Americans say that as far as they are concerned, 2008 will be a better year than 2007, while 34% say it will be worse. In December 2006, and in several end-of-year surveys during the 1990s, there was greater optimism about the coming year with the prevalence of positive expectations peaking at 66%in 1999. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.