WASHINGTON — Americans are closing out 2014 on an optimistic note, according to a new Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll. Nearly half predict 2015 will be a better year for them than 2014 was, just 1 in 10 think it will be worse. Overall, Americans give the year gone by a resounding ‘meh.’

On a personal level, about a third (34 percent) think 2014 was better than 2013, while 15 percent say 2014 was worse and half see little difference. Slightly fewer feel their year was a step down from the previous one than said so in 2013, when an AP-Times Square poll found 20 percent thought 2013 was worse than 2012.

Americans are slightly more likely than they were a year ago to believe that the current year was better than the last for the United States – 30 percent say so this year, while 25 percent said so in 2013. On the other hand, Americans are more likely than in the 2013 poll to say this year was worse than last for the world as a whole, with 38 percent saying so now after 30 percent said so a year ago.

Americans are divided on the most important news event of 2014, with the rise of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, protests over the killings of black men including Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police officers, and the Ebola outbreak each named by about 1 in 10 Americans.

Few Americans rate this year’s crop of pop culture events as memorable, with one big exception: The death of Robin Williams, and the ensuing discussion of mental health issues. About two-thirds call that a memorable event.

Events rating as forgettable by a majority of Americans include the leak of hacked celebrity photos on Reddit, Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie at the Oscars, Taylor Swift going pop, and the marriages of George and Amal Clooney and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

About half of Americans plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home this year, while 2 in 10 say they’ll do so at a friend or family member’s home.

Fewer than 1 in 10 plan to celebrate at a bar, restaurant or organized event, while about a quarter don’t plan to celebrate at all.

The AP-Times Square Alliance Poll of 1,017 adults was conducted online Dec. 12-14, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online.