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The number: 58% — Americans less confident about solving problems

Americans have long expressed optimism about their ability as a people to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals, but the public's collective sense of self-confidence is not as strong as it was a few years ago; while nearly six-in-ten (58 percent) agree that "as Americans we can always find a way to solve our problems and get what we want," far more people shared this sentiment earlier in the decade (74 percent in 2002 and 66 percent in 2003).

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