A new NBC News/Marist poll that heralds American optimism that their personal situation will eventually improve reveals just how bad off many in the country are as a result of the sustained economic troubles beleaguering the national economy.

According to the just-released poll distributed by NBC:

— 43 percent say they are saving less, compared to 36 percent saving more.

— 18 percent say they have postponed a life event, such as retirement, for financial reasons.

— 36 percent have delayed a big-ticket purchase like a TV or a car.

— 27 percent have curtailed cellphone, cable or other services to save money.

— 19 percent say they have less food in the fridge than they did last year.

— 44 percent are either worried or overwhelmed by how much money they owe.

NBC highlights the poll’s finding that individual optimism is the highest since 2009, but notes that it also reveals that millions of Americans are struggling to balance their budgets. Considering the results and how so many people have hit rock bottom, it’s probably no surprise that many believe their situation will get better.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.