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.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate