Americans were less likely to put off some kinds of spending in 2015 than they were last year, new HuffPost/YouGov polling shows, but their views of their personal finances remain largely unchanged.
Just 18 percent of Americans say their current financial situation is better than it was at the start of the year, while 50 percent say things are about the same, and 30 percent say they've gotten worse -- nearly identical to the public's outlook at the end of last year. Those who did see an improvement are more likely to credit their own hard work rather than a generally improving economy.
Predictions for the future also remain modest. Only 29 percent believe they'll be better off a year from now, similar to the 26 percent who said the same last December.
The share who say they worry all the time about finances -- 33 percent -- and who say they're either just getting by or not even managing that -- 66 percent -- also haven't budged. That tracks with views of the national economy as a whole, which have remained relatively stable over 2015.
Still, there are some signs in the HuffPost/YouGov survey that Americans may have grown a little more comfortable since last year with spending money.
Fifty-nine percent say saving money played at least a minor part in planning their holidays this year, which represents a 9-point drop since 2014. Compared to last year, respondents to the poll were also 6 points less likely to say they'd put off buying clothes or other personal items, 5 points less likely to have delayed home repairs or maintenance and 7 points less likely to have waited to fix their cars.
The results also underlie how political partisanship can affect people's views of their economic fortunes, regardless of their individual situations.
Republicans and Democrats were about equally likely to worry about their finances or to report putting off most types of spending, and Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they're currently living comfortably.
Yet Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to say their economic fortunes improved this year, and 12 points more likely to predict further improvement in the next year.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of two sets of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Dec. 11-14 and Dec. 21-23 among U.S. adults. It used a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls' methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.