16 October 2008
Optimists a rare breed
'Consternation at Newsweek, which published a poll earlier this week revealing that 86% of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction in which the nation is going - a historic low, coupled with lower approval ratings for George Bush than Richard Nixon ever had to confront. A further 4% didn't know how they felt. So who on earth are the 10% who think everything's fine? "The obvious guess is that the responders misunderstood the question," one reporter for the magazine speculated. "So maybe a few old ladies thought the nice Newsweek pollster said, 'Are you sad it's tied?' And they said, 'Yes,' because they thought their guy had a big lead." Intrepidly, he headed for the streets of Washington DC to find some of these sunny optimists. In the course of much questioning, he found five, two of whom were pretty clearly relentless optimists - the kind of people temperamentally unable to feel depressed about anything, no matter how catastrophic the economic news. Another two were Canadian. The fifth was drunk'
- Oliver Burkeman, Guardian, 16 October 2008