Poll: Half believe 'country's best years are behind us'

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Americans also believe that prices would rise at a reasonable rate in the coming year, with 57 percent agreeing with such a prediction. Of those surveyed, 42 percent said prices would rise at a higher-than-normal rate.

"The 65 percent of Americans who predict 2013 will be a year of economic difficulty is one of the more negative responses to this question since Gallup first asked it in 1965," said Gallup's Frank Newport in a statement.

Americans surveyed before Tuesday's "fiscal cliff" deal also accurately predicted that taxes would rise in 2013, with 82 percent saying it was more likely they would rise than fall. A broad majority — 85 percent — also predicted the federal budget would not be balanced in 2013.

Americans also took a pessimistic look at American power, with three-quarters predicting a year of international discord and 57 percent saying the United States' global influence would wane. Those surveyed also see increasing violence at home, with 68 percent predicting a rise in crime rates.

"About two-thirds of Americans believe 2013 will be a year of rising crime rates, a more negative prediction than in either 1999 or 1998," Newport said. "Americans' views about crime this year were possibly affected by the tragic school shooting on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., the day on which the current poll began."