As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about it. But major technological and communications advances are viewed in an overwhelmingly positive light.
Americans' perception about the state and direction of the nation usually go hand-in-hand. However, big events, like last fall's election, can split these two indicators of the public's national outlook.
More Americans say that people like themselves will gain influence under the Obama administration than was the case for the last two incoming presidents. Many who did not vote for Obama say this as well -- including pluralities of all whites and white evangelical Christians.