Poll suggests an overall move toward pessimism among the American public
The poll, conducted by Axios and Momentive, suggested that Americans are suffering from both pandemic and political fatigue.
In 2022, respondents said they want to hear less about Covid and less about former President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden’s name was also high on the list when only Republican results were considered.
The poll aimed to assess Americans’ feelings about 2021 and their hopes and fears for 2022.
When asked how to best describe 2021, 43 per cent of respondents said either “exhausting” or “worrisome”, with 31 per cent opting for the word “chaotic”.
There was one word Americans hoped they would hear more of in 2022: “travel”.
Thirty-one per cent of respondents said that jobs and the economy were among the most important issues to them heading into 2022. The third most important issue going into the New Year was “democracy”, according to 17 per cent of the poll’s respondents.
That figure was driven largely by both Democratic and Republican respondents. Only 7 per cent of independents listed “democracy” as a primary worry.
Overall, more survey respondents said they were more fearful than hopeful about the coming year. More than half – 54 per cent – said they were fearful about what 2022 had in store, with only 44 per cent saying they were hopeful.
That’s a significant decline in hopefulness when compared to the 2020-2021 survey, during which 63 per cent said there more hopeful about the coming year.
Republicans were more pessimistic about the coming year than Democrats and Independents.
Part of that anxiety is almost certainly driven by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, although 61 per cent of respondents said they were more hopeful than fearful about the pandemic going into 2022. That optimism was consistent across age, party, race and gender demographics.
Laura Wronski, senior manager for research science at Momentive, told Axios: “The end of last year was a particularly hopeful time”, likely due to a change in presidential administration and the belief that the worst of the pandemic had already occurred.
“I think after this year we realized it’s not going to magically get better, that we’re going to have to live with Covid for a while,” she said.