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.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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