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Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: America hopes 2021 will be less terrible

Data: Axios/SurveyMonkey online poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

More than six out of 10 Americans are hopeful about what 2021 has in store for the world, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

The big picture: After a year dominated by the pandemic and a seemingly endless presidential election, Americans are overwhelmingly hopeful that things will get better with the pandemic — and more narrowly hopeful about Joe Biden's presidency.


By the numbers: 63% of poll respondents said they're more hopeful than fearful about what 2021 holds in store for the world, while 36% said they're more fearful.

  • That's a jump in optimism compared to the same poll heading into 2019, when just 51% said they were hopeful and 48% said they were fearful.
  • The only group that wasn't optimistic about 2021 was Republicans: 41% said they were more hopeful, while 58% said they were more fearful.

Between the lines: Americans were even more optimistic about the year ahead for them personally — mostly driven by the hopes of young adults, people of color and Democrats.

The coronavirus was the one issue that united most people in optimism. Overall, 76% were more hopeful than fearful about the pandemic next year — a view that held across most age groups, racial and ethnic groups, and parties.

  • 82% of Democrats, 72% of Republicans, and 73% of independents said they were more hopeful than fearful.

The Biden presidency was more divisive. Overall, 56% were more hopeful about his presidency, while 42% were more fearful.

  • Not surprisingly, Republicans are the most pessimistic: 82% said they're more fearful than hopeful about his presidency.
  • By contrast, 59% of independents said they're more hopeful about it — and 92% of Democrats said the same.

And while Republicans are ready for President Trump to take on a big leadership role in the Republican Party after his presidency ends, that's not true of everyone else.

  • 75% of Republicans said they're more concerned that Trump will play too small a role in the future of the GOP rather than too big a role — while 51% of all respondents said they're more concerned that he'll play too big a role.
  • And more than half of Republicans (52%) said they believe Trump will have a major role in the Republican Party, while 30% said they think he'll have a minor role.
  • By contrast, just 34% of all respondents expect him to play a major role, while 32% think he'll have a minor role and 31% think he'll have no role at all.

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted Dec. 14-20 among a national sample of 3,561 adults in the U.S. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for the national sample.

Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

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