Gallup poll says Maine next to last in list of ‘thriving’ states

Posted Aug. 14, 2012, at 6:26 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — In Gallup poll results released Tuesday, Maine ranks next to last for the percentage of respondents who describe themselves as “thriving” in the first half of 2012. Only West Virginia fared worse.

The results come a week after a separate Gallup poll revealed that a lower percentage of Mainers than residents of any other state say they believe conditions will improve in their state during the next five years.

The findings align, as the most recently released survey results derive from a measuring tool called the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale, which classifies respondents as “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering” according to how they rate their lives now and how they envision their circumstances to be in five years.

At almost 62 percent, Hawaii claims the highest percentage of residents who define themselves as thriving. Utah, which topped the Aug. 7 list of states where residents say that life will improve during the next half decade, places second for “thriving” residents with 59.3 percent, followed by South Dakota with 58.3 percent.

The percentage of Mainers polled who fall into the “thriving” category sits at 46.6 percent, two percentage points behind Delaware at 48.6 percent, but well ahead of West Virginia at 42.3 percent.

Nationally, 53.6 percent of U.S. adults merit the “thriving” classification, which constitutes a slight improvement over 2011, according to Gallup writer Lymari Morales. South Dakota showed the biggest gain and Alaska the deepest drop.

Comparing how respondents rate their lives now to what they anticipate in five years indicates that residents of all 50 states foresee improvements. The survey shows that residents of Louisiana expect the greatest positive movement, while Vermont earns Gallup’s title of “least optimistic state” for this survey.

“While this thriving measure doesn’t always align perfectly with macro-level trends on economic indicators such as economic confidence and job creation, it is known to correlate with personal factors in one’s own life including career, social, physical, financial and community well-being,” Morales wrote.

Gallup based the results of this survey on a random sample of 177,870 phone calls made between January and June 2012. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent for smaller states such as Maine.

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