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Personal Optimism Prevails for 2012; Nationally and Globally, Less So

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Economic challenges aren’t holding back personal optimism.

Despite the still-deep downturn, Americans overwhelmingly express positive views about what 2012 holds for them personally. But views of the country’s future are less bright -- and the world’s prospects, even less so.

Three-quarters of adults in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll hold a favorable view of what the new year has in store for them. Many fewer, albeit more than half, 55 percent, have an optimistic view of the country’s year ahead. And for the world in general, it’s just 49 percent.

In terms of personal outlooks, money’s a big factor, but it isn’t everything. Better-off Americans hold the most favorable views of their own prospects in 2012 – 86 percent positive. But it’s a respectable 72 percent among people with household incomes less than $50,000 a year, and even 61 percent among the least well-off, those with household incomes less than $15,000 a year.

Similarly, while a positive personal outlook peaks at 83 percent among people who hold full-time jobs, it also includes 72 percent of those temporarily out of work and 66 percent of people in part-time jobs. If optimism in those groups turns out to anticipate a recovering job market, it’d be a critical change in the nation’s most persistent problem.

Personal optimism to some extent also is informed by youth; it peaks at 83 percent for Americans under age 40, compared with 70 percent among those 40 or older.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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