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Current Decade Rated as Worst in 50 Years

Current Decade Rated as Worst in 50 Years

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Published by Ken Connor

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Published by: Ken Connor on Jul 02, 2011
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07/02/2011

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NEWS 
Release 1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 700 Washington, D.C. 20036 Tel (202) 419-4350 Fax (202) 419-4399 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, December 21, 2009Internet, Cell Phones Are Changes for the BetterCURRENT DECADE RATED AS WORST IN 50 YEARS
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 
Andrew Kohut, DirectorCarroll Doherty and Michael Dimock, Associate DirectorsScott Keeter, Director of Survey ResearchPew Research Center for the People & the Press202-419-4350http://www.people-press.org
 
 
Internet, Cell Phones Are Changes for the BetterCURRENT DECADE RATED AS WORST IN 50 YEARS
As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things tosay about it. By roughly two-to-one, more say they have a generally negative (50%) rather than agenerally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. This stands in stark contrast to thepublic’s recollection of other decades in the past half-century. When asked to look back on the1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, positive feelings outweigh negative in all cases.To be sure, the passage of time mayaffect the way people view these historicalperiods. For example, had we asked the public’simpression of the 1970s in December of 1979,the negatives may well have outweighed thepositives.By a wide margin, the 9/11 terroristattacks are seen as the most important event of the decade, with Barack Obama’s election aspresident a distant second – even among hispolitical supporters. And the sour view of thedecade is broad-based, with few in any politicalor demographic group offering positiveevaluations.Happy to put the 2000s behind them,most Americans are optimistic that the 2010swill be better. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) say theythink the next decade will be better than the lastfor the country as a whole, though roughly athird (32%) think things will be worse.There are a number of recent changes and trends that are viewed favorably. In particular,the major technological and communications advances are viewed in an overwhelmingly positivelight.
 
Good Riddance to the 2000s
Your overall impression of the…
1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Is generally…
% % % % %Positive 34 40 56 57 27Negative 15 16 12 19 50Neither 42 37 27 22 21Don’t know 8 7 5 3 2100 100 100 100 100
9/11 Attacks Stand Out
Most important event of the decade 
%9/11 terrorist attacks 53Barack Obama’s election 162008 financial crisis 12George W. Bush’s election 6War in Iraq 5Hurricane Katrina 3Other (Vol.) 1Don’t know 3100
But Most Say 2010s Will Be Better
Next decade will be…
%Better 59Worse 32Same (Vol.) 4Don’t know 5100
Figures may not add to 100% because of rounding.
 
 2Clear majorities see cell phones, the internet and e-mail as changes for the better, andmost also view specific changes such as handheld internet devices and online shopping asbeneficial trends. There is greater division of opinion, however, over whether social networkingsites or internet blogs have been changes for the better or changes for the worse.Most seeincreasing racial andethnic diversity as achange for the better, aswell as increasedsurveillance and securitymeasures and the broaderrange of news andentertainment options.But the public isdivided over whetherwider acceptance of gaysand lesbians, cable newstalk and opinion shows,and the growing numberof people with money inthe stock market are goodor bad trends. Reality TVshows are, by a widemargin, the least populartrend tested in the poll;63% say these shows havebeen a change for theworse. Tattoos are alsounpopular with many –40% say more peoplegetting tattoos is a changefor the worse, though 45%say it makes no differenceand 7% see it as a changefor the better.

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