In the latest NBC News/The Wall Street Journal poll conducted December 7-11, Americans signal that 2011 is a year to forget. Compared to past years, 76{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} see 2011 as below average or one of the worst. That’s the second worse rating across nine years this poll has asked that question stretching back off-and-on to 1991.

The modestly good news is that 30{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of adults think the economy will get better over the next 12 months with 22{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} saying it will get worse. While still grim, this is the first time the economic outlook measure has been a net positive since April.

President Obama’s overall job approval remains a slight net negative (46-48) and his Very Positive image rating is lower than his Very Negative image rating for the fourth consecutive survey. Meanwhile, both political parties have double-digit net negative image ratings.

Looking forward to the 2012 race, overall enthusiasm continues to drop and now just 43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of voters say they’re more enthusiastic about the 2012 elections than past elections. However, Republicans continue to have a steady and significant enthusiasm gap compared to Democrats. Among Republicans, 55{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} are “more enthusiastic” about the 2012 election compared to previous elections while just 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Democrats are more enthusiastic. That’s the same high level enthusiasm as November for Republicans but for Democrats it represents a five percent drop in just one month. Independents dropped precipitously from 40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} “more enthusiastic” in November to 28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} this month.

NBC News / Wall Street Journal — December 7-11, 2011 (PDF Format)

Public Opinion Strategies