As Americans head into 2013, a new poll shows the public much less optimistic about what the future holds than they were four years ago at the start of President Obama’s first term.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Saturday shows that 53 percent of Americans say they are “hopeful” about what the new year holds in store for them personally. Forty-four percent, however, characterize their mood as “fearful.”

Those numbers are down sharply from 2008, when 63 percent said they were hopeful about the future to 35 percent fearful.

They are also the least optimistic figures in a decade, down from highs in 2001. In that year, 80 percent said they were personally hopeful , with 16 percent fearful about the year ahead.