Just 20 percent of those polled think things will be worse in 2011 and 21 percent say the new year will be the same as last year, the poll released Monday indicated.
The poll also found that Democrats are much more positive about 2011 than Republicans. Nearly 70 percent of Democrats polled expected 2011 to be better while slightly less than half of Republicans expected the same.
The poll said younger Americans are slightly less positive about the way the United States will be governed in 2011 than those who are older. This contrasts with their generally more optimistic general views about the new year.
In general, optimism about the nation's governance in 2011 is low, with 42 percent saying it will be better, compared with more than half who expect it to stay the same or get worse.
The poll was conducted Dec. 10-12 from a random sample of 1,019 adults 18 and older. It has a sampling error of 4 percentage points.
Gallup.com will publish a separate story this week revealing Americans' views on the future of the U.S. economy.