THE GALLUP POLL FOR RELEASE Thursday, March 12, 1987Only One-Third of Public Deny Existenc

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THE GALLUP POLL FOR RELEASE: Thursday, March 12, 1987Only One-Third of Public Deny Existence of UFOs, Extraterrestri al LifePrinceton, NJ-- For millions of American adults a "Close Encounter of the Third Kind" is a distinct possibility, with only about one in three flatly denying the existence of either unidentified flying objects (UFOs) or extraterrestrial life. In a new Gallup survey, 50% express the belief that there are "people somewhat like ourselves living on other planets in the universe", while 34% are skeptical and 16% are unsure. The current figures are virtually unchanged from those recorded in a 1978 survey, but considerably more now than in either 1973 or 1966 believe in extraterrestrial life. Similarly, 49% of those who have heard or read about UFOs think they are real, while 30% are do ubtful and 21% uncertain. Belief in UFOs is down slightly from its peak in 1978, when 57% thought they were real. 9% Report Sighting UFO In the new survey, one person in 11 (9%) reports actually having seen something he or she thought was a UFO, statistically similar to the findings of earlier polls. Belief Higher Among College-Educated Belief in the existence of life on other planets and in UFOs is subst antially higher among persons who attended college than among those whose formal education ended at or before graduation from high school. Men are more likely than women to believe in extraterrestrail life, 62% and 40%, respectively, but men and women share the same opinions a bout UFOs. As a rule, people 50 and older are less convinced than their juniors that either phenomenon has a basis in fact, but more olde r than younger adults are undecided. Westerners are most apt to be believers; Southerners, least so. Following are the questions, the tre nds and the latest findings among key demographic groups: Respondents were first asked: HAVE YOU HEARD OR READ ABOUT UFOS (UNIDENTIFIE D FLYING OBJECTS)? Those answering affirmatively (88% of the total) were then asked: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING YOU THOUGHT WAS A UFO ?Sighting of UFO (based on aware groups)1987 9%1978 91973 111966 5 IN YOUR OPINION , ARE UFOS SOMETHING REAL OR JUST PEOPLE'S IMAGINATION?Existence of UFOs(based on aware groups) Real Imaginary Not Sure1987 49 30 211978 57 27 161973 54 3 0 161966 46 29 25Existence of UFOs(based on aware groups) Real I maginary Not SureNATIONAL 49 30 21Men 50 31 19Women 49 28 23Attended College 56 26 18No College 44 33 23 18-29 Years 53 32 1530-49 Years 57 21 2250 & Older 36 39 25East 52 30 18Midwest 48 27 25South 39 39 22West 62 19 19All persons in the survey were asked the following question: DO YOU THINK THERE ARE PEOPLE SOMEWHAT LIKE OURSELVES LIVING ON OTHER PLANETS IN THE UNIVERSE, OR NOT?Extraterrestrial Life Yes No Not Sure1987 50 34 161978 51 33 161973 46 38 161966 34 46 20Extraterrestrial Life Yes No Not SureNATIONAL 50 34 16Men 62 30 8Women 40 28 32Attended College 57 33 1 0 No College 46 35 1918-29 Years 52 36 1230-49 Years 56 35 950 & Older 42 33 25 East 55 29 16Midwest 49 34 17South 38 48 14West 63 21 16 The latest findings are based on telephone interviews with 527 adults, 18 and older, conducte d in scientifically selected localities across the nation during the period Feb 2-18. For results based on samples of this size, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects could be 6 percentage points in either direction. I n addition to sampling error, the reader should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can intr oduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls. These statements conform to the standards of disclosure of the National Council on P ublic Polls.


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