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Poll Finds That Americans Think Most Important News Stories of 2015 are the
Mass Shootings around the Country, Paris Attacks and Islamic State Atrocities

New York, N.Y. (December 26, 2015) - The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, co-organizers of Times Square New Year’s Eve, along with the Associated Press, today unveiled the results of the third annual AP-Times Square New Year’s Eve poll. The poll highlighted the public’s expectations for the New Year and captured their opinions about the most important news stories and most memorable pop culture moments of 2015.

The poll showed that many Americans are optimistic that 2016 will be a better year for them, personally, than 2015. 43 percent of the participants responded that 2016 will be a better year than 2015, compared with only 17 percent who thought 2016 will be worse. Reflecting on the year they’ve just been through, 29 percent think 2015 was better than 2014, 21 percent say it was worse and 49 percent say there was no difference.

On New Year's Eve, 56 percent of Americans, or approximately 180 million people, will watch the Times Square New Year's Eve Celebration, including two-thirds of women (59 percent) and more than half of men (52 percent).

The survey also highlighted the public’s take on the most important news and pop culture stories of the year. When asked to rate the importance of 10 top news stories, 68 percent of Americans said that the mass shootings this year in the United States (namely: 14 killed in San Bernardino, heightening U.S. fears of terrorism; 9 at the Charleston church, leading to Confederate flag’s removal from the State House grounds; 9 at the Oregon community college; and the 4 Marines slain in Chattanooga) were "very" or “extremely important” news stories. The attacks in Paris ranked nearly as high, with 64 percent of people naming it as a “very” or “extremely” important story. The Islamic State's far-flung atrocities and terror attacks prompting an intensified multinational effort to defeat it followed closely at 63 percent.

Slightly more Americans say it was memorable (37 percent) rather than forgettable (34 percent) that Star Wars ’The Force Awakens’ became the most eagerly awaited sequel of the year. Similar proportions rated Bill Cosby’s legal woes as memorable (36 percent) rather than forgettable (33 percent). Tom Brady leading Patriots to Super Bowl win, but dealing with fallout from the deflated footballs scandal and his overturned suspension leading the Patriots to start the next season 10-0 was more forgettable (40 percent) than memorable (27 percent).

“It’s refreshing to see people so optimistic for the future in the face of the past year’s challenges,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance. “Being able to reflect on 2015 and still have an opportunity to start fresh with renewed hope for the future is what makes New Year's Eve such a special occasion for so many people.”

“Each year, I look forward to sharing the anticipation and excitement for the upcoming year with the millions of people who celebrate with us from around the world,” said Jeffrey Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment. “New Year’s Eve is a singular moment when the world can unite together in celebration and hope for the upcoming year.”

Most Americans plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year either at home (48 percent) or at the home of a friend or family member (20 percent). Another 9 percent plan to celebrate at a bar, restaurant or organized event.

More people are expected to watch the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop online or on a mobile device this year (4 percent) in comparison to last year (3 percent). People can watch online at TimesSquareNYC.org, NewYearsEve.nyc, Livestream.com/2016 and TimesSquareBall.net. The Times Square 2016 Webcast is also available for live viewing on Android and Apple devices with the Times Square Ball App.

The Associated Press-Times Square New Year’s Eve Poll was conducted December 11-13, 2015 by GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications – a division of GfK Custom Research North America. The poll is based on a nationally-representative probability sample of 1,020 general population adults age 18 or older. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points at the 95 confidence level.

To see the complete list of survey findings, please visit: surveys.ap.org

 

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About AP
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP. On the Web: www.ap.org.
 
About Times Square New Year’s Eve
The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment are the organizers of Times Square New Year’s Eve. The Times Square Alliance works to improve and promote Times Square—cultivating the creativity, energy and edge that have made the area an icon of entertainment, culture and urban life for over a century. Countdown Entertainment represents the owners of One Times Square and the New Year’s Eve Ball.

For more information about Times Square New Year’s Eve, visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org.
To join the Times Square New Year’s Eve conversation on Twitter, follow #BallDrop.

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Contact: Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
Kyle Sklerov – 212- 843-8486, ksklerov@rubenstein.com
Kristen Bothwell - 212-843-9227, kbothwell@Rubenstein.com