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If you’re like most people, you’re probably not very sorry to see 2016 go.
There are plenty of explanations for why this year just seemed, well, crappier than most. Americans lived through a divisive presidential election that left about half the country uncertain or pessimistic about the next administration.
The country was rocked by the deadliest mass shooting on U.S. soil. Each news cycle seemed to yield more horrific images of carnage from terror attacks or devastating wars abroad.
We worried about Zika, Hurricane Matthew, the opioid epidemic, the economic fallout from Brexit and an American economy that’s still not working for too many Americans. We lost beloved celebrities and luminaries like Muhammad Ali, Prince, Gwen Ifill, Nancy Reagan, Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher and David Bowie.
It all added up. According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 55 percent of Americans say 2016 was either below average (35 percent) or one of the worst years they can remember for the country (20 percent). That’s more optimistic than at the height of the recession in December 2008, when eight-in-ten Americans said the year was pretty awful. But it’s also the worst since 2012.
What’s more, only 15 percent of Americans say at 2016 was above average or one of the best years they can remember, about half of the share that said the same in 2015, 2014 and 2013.
As they did last year, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to give the year as a whole a thumbs down. And, as in 2015, African-Americans were more optimistic about the year than other racial groups.
Here’s a look at some of the groups who said 2016 was one of the worst years for the United States: