Most Americans will say a prayer on New Year’s Eve, according to a new survey.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen, in a newly released survey, found that 72 percent of Americans plan to pray to ring in 2003, while just 45 percent expect to drink an alcoholic beverage.

Most hope the prayer will usher in a better year than last year. Only 29 percent of those surveyed rate 2002 as a good or excellent year. Forty-three percent called it fair, and another 27 percent described it as being poor.

Looking ahead, expectations for next year are only modestly more upbeat, with 37 percent expecting it to be a good or excellent year, 41 percent expect it to be fair and 17 percent poor.

The Rasmussen study showed a huge generational gap in the level of overall contentment among Americans. Thirty-five percent of respondents under age 30 rate this past year as good or excellent, while just 22 percent of those over 65 gave the outgoing year such a positive rating.

Looking ahead to 2003, half of those under 30 expect an excellent or good year. Only 34 percent of those over 65 are that optimistic.

The age difference was also reflected in the drinking-versus-praying results. Sixty percent of those under 30 plan to toast the new year with an alcoholic beverage, while just 33 percent of those over 65 say they expect to imbibe.

Meanwhile, 79 percent of American seniors will say a prayer for the new year compared to 63 percent of the under-30 crowd.

The poll also found a gender gap on the questions of drinking and praying. Among men, 61 percent will say a prayer and 52 percent will have a drink. Among women, 82 percent will pray and 40 percent will have a drink.

These results are from a national telephone survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Scott Rasmussen Public Opinion Research on Dec. 27 and 28. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

As WorldNetDaily reported, this survey comes on the heels of another by Rasmussen which found that most Americans – 62 percent – celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Twenty-four percent said they celebrate it primarily as a secular holiday featuring Santa Claus. Another 8 percent observe some other religious tradition.

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