2015 was a busy year — the year of water on Mars, Deflategate, national legalization of same-sex marriage, the rise of The Donald and Feeling the Bern, Adele’s singing, Drake’s dancing and people having a LOT of opinions about Pizza Rat.
And how you think it went might have something to do with your political views.
At the end of most years, our NBC News/Wall Street Journal pollsters ask Americans how they think the last 12 months stacked up for the United States. This year, about 13 percent called 2015 “one of the best years” for the country or “above average,” which is pretty much the same grade respondents gave 2014. About a third – 36 percent – called 2015 a “below-average” year, and 18 percent said it was one of the worst.
But just TWO percent of Republicans said that 2015 was a positive year for America, compared to 24 percent of Democrats who said the same. In fact, three-in-ten Republicans called 2015 “one of the worst years” for the United States. Among core supporters of Donald Trump, a whopping 46 percent placed 2015 among the worst years for America.
The 2015 numbers are a big improvement over years like, say, 2008, which nearly half of recession-weary Americans called one of the worst years ever. And the latest set of data actually represents one of the best showings for optimism in the country since 1994, the year that gave us a booming economy, a watershed midterm reset and Keanu Reeves in “Speed.”
In addition to asking how the year was for the country as a whole, our pollsters also ask folks how each year went for them personally.
When it comes to their own personal experience in 2015, Americans are a bit more optimistic. Twenty-eight percent called the year “one of the best” or “above average,” while 29 percent called it “one of the worst” or below average.”
Again, Democrats were significantly more likely to give 2015 high marks as a good year for them personally, with 37 percent calling it a good year and 23 percent calling it poor.
Just 22 percent of Republicans, on the other hand, gave 2015 a thumbs up, while 32 percent gave it a thumbs down.
Unsurprisingly, the least happy with the year personally were those in the lowest income bracket (42 percent bad).
Those more likely than the average American to say that 2015 was a good one to remember? Young people (38 percent good), the highly educated (39 percent good), and African Americans (38 percent good.)
Whatever your background or your politics, we at the NBC News Political Unit hope that you had a wonderful 2015 – and that 2016 is even better. Happy New Year!