Americans will have little nostalgia for the year’s economy as they say goodbye to 2008, but the public remains optimistic as champagne is popped for 2009. More than four-in-ten (43%) expect that the national economy will be in better shape a year from now than it is today, while only 17% say it will be worse. Also, a 56%-majority believes that their own financial situation will be improved a year from now. On the specifics, however, the public is not so optimistic. Majorities believe that at the end of 2009, unemployment (63%) and taxes (55%) will have increased, and a plurality (47%) says inflation will be up this time next year. Read More

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