Is it wishful thinking? A Creative Group poll of 250 advertising and marketing execs points to a growing sense of morale in those businesses. Some 42 percent of respondents said morale at their companies is up, compared with 35 percent in first-quarter 2002. “After two years of recession, people are expecting things to get better, and that expectation translates into better morale,” says Smith McClure, a rep for the Menlo Park, Calif., staffing firm. The phone survey, conducted from April to June, found that 28 percent think spirits have declined, compared with 38 percent last year. “We’re still in a difficult time—it’s important that managers do what they can to increase and maintain morale, since once things improve, if the morale isn’t there, employees will look elsewhere,” McClure said.