Americans Are Really Afraid of a Looming World War

Here’s another interesting GSS chart for you. I still haven’t extracted the data I went there for, but I’ll get to it eventually. In the meantime, check this out:

There are several surprising things here:

  • First, that the numbers in general are so high. Half the population expects us to be in a world war sometime in the next decade? Wow.
  • Second, that the number spiked after 9/11 and stayed high. More people today expect a world war than they did during the actual Cold War.
  • Third, that responses have stayed so consistent even though we haven’t been in a world war. You’d think that after years and years of this prediction not coming true, people would start to figure that a world war was unlikely. But no.

I don’t know what to make of this. Either Americans are way more pessimistic than I thought, or else they have a very different idea of what a “world war” is than I do.

POSTSCRIPT: It’s worth noting that this fear of a world war changes a little bit if you break things out by demographic group, but not by much. Men and women, blacks and whites, Democrats and Republicans, young and old—they all have roughly the same fear that we’ll be in a world war sometime soon.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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