If You Thought 2016 Was Terrible, You're Actually In The Minority

If you think it was amazing, you're in an even smaller group.
Maybe it wasn't&nbsp;<i>that&nbsp;</i>much of a dumpster fire.
Maybe it wasn't that much of a dumpster fire.

2016 will last an entire second longer than usual, news that many headline writers took less as a cosmic curiosity than as a final indignity at the hands of an already terrible year. 

The characterization of 2016 as something between a dumpster fire and a literal horror movie has become a recurring joke on some parts of the internet, thanks to an interminable presidential campaign punctuated by a parade of celebrity deaths and an unremitting assortment of other bad news.

Most Americans’ impressions of this year, though, are rather less dramatic, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

Overall, 26 percent of Americans say that 2016 has been good or excellent for the country as a whole, 36 percent say that it has been only fair and 31 percent think that it has been poor. Those numbers, if somewhat pessimistic, are also basically in line with December of last year, when 25 percent said that 2015 had been good or excellent, 44 percent that it was fair and 27 percent that it was poor.

Both this year and last, the public held a rosier view of their own lives. Forty-one percent say that they personally had an excellent or good year in 2016, with 36 percent saying that they had a fair year and just 19 percent that their year was poor. In 2015, those numbers were a similar 43 percent, 37 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Opinions of this year show a modest divide along party lines: Democrats are 13 points likelier than Republicans to say that 2016 was good or excellent both for the nation and for themselves.

Partisanship plays a much larger role in expectations for the year ahead. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans, but just 13 percent of Democrats, expect 2017 to be a better year for the nation as a whole.

In a sign of how polarization can extend far beyond political issues, personal expectations are only somewhat less politicized. Sixty percent of Republicans and just 29 percent of Democrats expect next year to be an improvement for them personally.

Overall, 34 percent of Americans expect 2017 to be an improvement for the nation as a whole, with 30 percent expecting it to be worse and 18 percent predicting it’ll be just about the same.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Dec. 16-19 among U.S. adults, using 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.