U.S. Survey: Americans upbeat about own future

A poll sponsored by the people who organize the annual New Year's Eve celebration in which a lighted ball slides down a pole at the stroke of midnight in Times Square says &to=http://english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/16096_Bush.html' target=_blank>Americans are optimistic about their own lives but fear the world will be "less peaceful" in 2006.

While the survey, conducted by Quinnipiac University, did not ask respondents to explain their views, it found that 79 percent of Americans believe things will be better for them next year. But just over half _ 52 percent _ see the world facing greater troubles. Thirty-six percent expect more peace and 12 percent had no opinion.

Among the 18 to 29 age group, 93 percent "feel optimistic about their personal future," a figure that tapers off to 63 percent among people 65 and older. But the latter group is more optimistic about the overall situation, with only 41 percent expecting a worse year for the human race, compared to 56 percent for the youngest category.

Sliced other ways, the survey showed respondents equally divided, or nearly so, in higher hopes personally for 2006: 79 percent of both men and women; 79 percent of whites and 78 percent of blacks; 85 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Independents.

As for global peace, 51 percent of men and 53 percent of women expected less, as did 51 percent of whites and 61 percent of blacks. Among political independents, 57 percent foresaw less peace, along with 55 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Republicans.

"In some ways this (poll) is a comment on the optimism of Americans and on what New Year's means to people _ tying into their hopes for the future," said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, a co-sponsor of the poll.