>>> after all we've been through this year, tomorrow night's big ball drop in new york's times square cannot come soon enough for a lot of people ready to kiss 2011 good-bye. nbc's mike taibbi tonight on why so many are saying good riddance and hoping for the best for 2012.
>> reporter: let's face it. even if 2011 wasn't an actual bummer for most people it sure felt like it. from new york's times square.
>> it's scary. it really is scary.
>> reporter: to pasadena on the left coast.
>> feels like a lot of humanity has been lost.
>> reporter: granted there was a lot to worry about. pro football, pro basketball and even the u.s. congress were on the brink of shutting down. they didn't. and though california spent months over a transportation mess they dubbed carmegeddon it was just a news story about a highway shut down for a while. then there was oakland preacher harold camping who predicted the world would end may 21.
>> it will begin with a huge earthquake.
>> reporter: when it didn't he changed it to july 4, then october 21 and then stopped talking. still, recent polls show americans by huge margins, 2 to 1 and 3 to 1, think we are on the wrong track as all the occupy protests demonstrated it's worries about money.
>> i lost a couple jobs because of the economy and things. everybody's going through that.
>> maybe congress will get it back together and do what it needs to do and go forward.
>> reporter: but 2012 is at hand and hope springs eternal. you may have heard we have an election coming up. so around half the country will find its hopes rewarded. the other half might find entertainment if not solace on events already on the calendar. the london olympics, the jubilee celebration for the queen's 60th year of rule, a tour and album by the beach boys. of course the movie " 2012" does have the mayan calendar predicting the world's destruction next december.
>> california is going down.
>> reporter: but that's just hollywood. in real life, 2012 is already worthy of optimism because it's not 2011. mike taibbi, nbc news, los angeles.