Fun With Surveys

This post may be a bit less political than others, but when I read this article from AP, I had to write about it. The article is basically just a bunch of interesting bits and factoids about Americans’ state of mind, opinions, beliefs, etc. It comes from the Pew Research Center and is really quite typical in terms of methodology; they surveyed 1,546 American adults over the course of a few days and the margin for error is +/- 3 points. Read through the post, my goal is to progress from the least interesting to the most curious bits from the article.

– As the headline of the article says, Americans are less optimistic than in the past. 64% are optimistic about their future, and 61% are optimistic about the nation’s future. That is down, however, from previous levels of 81% and 70%, respectively.

– Only 56% of Americans expect a stronger economy.I don’t find this particularly surprising, even the most strident optimist may have trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

– 71% expect cancer to be cured by 2050. Speaking of optimism…It’s unfortunate but I suspect we will see many more superficial diseases/dysfunctions (like baldness and erectile dysfunction) cured before cancer.

– 72% expect a major energy crisis. What you mean like global warming? Oh, wait….

– 58% think there will be another world war. I just don’t see it, but then again I have no crystal ball.

– 61% say no one will send letters by 2050. I am hopeful for this to come true. Yes, American Express and Discover, that is directed at you.

– 50% expect health care to be more affordable. Not exactly a ringing endorsement there, Mr. President.

– Apparently, Obama has paved the way, so to speak. Within 40 years, 89% expect to see a woman president (President Palin? Yikes…) and 69% expect a Latino. I bet these numbers would have been SIGNIFICANTLY lower before 2008, but maybe Americans are just a little more idealistic than I would credit them for.

– Finally, the grand daddy of them all. 41% of survey respondents expect Jesus Christ to return by 2050. That’s right, 4 out of 10 Americans are expecting Jesus Christ to return by 2050. I won’t go too far into this, suffice it to say I am flabbergasted (and more than a bit frightened) that 41% of Americans would say this.

So what do you think, accurate snapshot of Americans?

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3 Responses to Fun With Surveys

  1. Michael says:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/24832/six-americans-think-us-ready-female-president.aspx

    Survey from 2006 on female and minority presidents. “Is the country ready for” and “expect to see within 40 years” are certainly not identical questions, but if you look at the Gallup survey above, nonwhites were much more pessimistic about the “readiness” of Americans to elect nonwhite candidates. I imagine that is where the largest change has taken place.

    And beginning with first-century Christians who actually knew Jesus, every generation of Christians has anticipated his return within their lifetime. I’m not really surprised by that last response. Jesus encouraged his followers to take the approach that the rapture could occur at any moment (i.e., Matt. 25:1-13) and so for roughly half of the Christians in the country to expect it to occur within 40 years is not that hard to believe.

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