The Optimism Index

By Erica C. Barnett April 29, 2011

The latest poll from Stuart Elway measures how optimistic (or pessimistic) Washington State residents are about the future for themselves personally, for the community, for the state, and for the nation. On average, 58 percent said they thought things would get better for their own household---a majority, but the lowest level in the poll's 19-year history.

But why focus on the negative? Here are the most optimistic folks in the state:

Seattle residents

People who live in Seattle were more optimistic about the future in every category, with a whopping 69 percent saying they expected things to get better for them personally.


Men overwhelmingly said they expected things to get better for them personally (62 percent, compared with just 53 percent of women). However, women were much more likely than men to say that things would get better for the country as a whole---51 percent, compared with just 44 percent of men.


Sixty-nine percent of Democrats said they were optimistic about their personal future (and 72 percent were optimistic for their community), while just 54 percent of Republicans said they were optimistic for themselves (and only 36 percent were optimistic about the future of the country).

Rich people

Sixty-one percent of people making more than $75,000 a year (the highest income bracket sampled) believed that things were going to get better for them (although just 49 percent believed things would get better for the nation).

Poor people

People making less than $25,000 were actually the most likely group of all to believe that things were looking up for them personally (and one of the few groups whose views about their personal fortunes had shifted upward over the past year): A whopping 68 percent said things would get better for them personally, one of the highest rates of optimism of any group.
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