Thursday, June 28, 2012


Lies, Damn Lies, and Polls about UFOs

While we're waiting for results of our latest analyses of Canadian UFO data during 2010 and 2011, let's look at what the latest poll has to say about UFOs.

A poll released yesterday by the National Geographic Channel found that 36 per cent of Americans believe UFOs exist. The poll was conducted by Kelton Research for NatGeo as a marketing campaign advertising the new NatGeo show Chasing UFOs that premieres this week. They did the survey between May 21 and May 29, 2012, "using e-mail invitations and online surveys." It was noted there was a sampling error of 2.9 points.

The survey noted that 80 million Americans (36 per cent) are sure UFO exist, 17 per cent do not think they exist, and 48 per cent aren't sure.

The first poll to ask the same (or similar, I think) question was done by Gallup in 1966, and found that 46 per cent thought UFOs were real, while 29 per cent thought UFOs were just the product of imaginations. Gallup's re-poll in 1971 found 51 percent in favour and 28 per cent against. In 1978, the percentages were 57 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively. In 1987, Gallup found 49 percent thought UFOs were "real," and 30 percent thought they were imaginary, while 21 per cent were "not sure."

A Canadian Gallup Poll in 1974 found that 53 per cent of Canadians thought UFOs were "real," and 26 per cent thought UFOs were just in people's imaginations. In 1978, a duplicate poll was conducted, and the numbers had shifted slightly to 57 per cent in favour and 22 for imagination.

Industrial Research Magazine in 1971 found the percentage of those who believe UFOs definitely existed was 54 per cent, while the non-believers were at 31 per cent. An Opinion Research survey in 1978 found that 35 per cent of respondents "believed" in UFOs, while 52 per cent thought UFOs were "real." (An interesting distinction.)

The latest NatGeo poll also reported that about 11 per cent of Americans believe they've seen a UFO. And 20 per cent say they know someone who has seen one. This is completely consistent with all previous polls, including those including Canada.

The Nat Geo poll also reported that about 79 per cent of Americans think the government is keeping information on UFOs from the public, and, even more remarkable, that 55 percent (or more than half of all Americans) think that Men In Black are real and are threatening witnesses of UFOs.

Then the Kelton types went really off the deep end. They asked, if you did meet an alien, what would you do? 22 per cent would befriend the alien; 15 would run for the hills; 13 would lock their doors; and two percent would go on the offensive and attack.

But, if aliens did attack Earth, who would you call? 21 per cent would call the Hulk; 12 per cent would call Batman; and only 8 per cent would call Spider-Man. The question leading up to this asked if aliens are more likely to exist than superheroes, vampires and zombies. This seems a bit off-base, since most astronomers think alien life is likely in the universe, so that grouping aliens and The Avengers is not logical.

The most significant finding, however, was that 65 per cent of Americans believe that Barack Obama would be better suited to handle an alien invasion than Milt Romney. Furthermore, 68 per cent of women thought Obama would be the best to deal with aliens, while 61 per cent of men thought so. In terms of age differences, those under 65 thought Obama was the man, while for those over 65, Romney and Obama were tied.

Although almost half of all respondents weren't sure that UFOs existed at all, the poll shows that aliens are still on the minds of a lot of people. And on marketers, especially.

And we haven't told you what the actual report numbers for UFO cases in Canada are for 2010 and 2011 yet.

Stay tuned.


I wonder what percentage of people who are polled believe in the results of polls?
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