In a little-reported poll taken in early September, 1996, the Gallup Organization asked 1,000 U.S. adults about their belief in UFOs and life in outer space. The questionnaire also asked about various paranormal subjects such as channeling, astrology, ghosts and angels. The last time Gallup ran a poll on UFOs was in June of 1990.
The poll indicated that belief in the reality of UFOs remains about where it has been for the last two decades -- around 50%. According to Gallup, that number peaked in 1978 at 57%. Far more people today, 72%, seem convinced that there is some kind of life in the universe beyond earth, though only 38% think such life will look somewhat like ourselves.
Also significant is the finding that 71% of those polled believe the U.S. government knows more about UFOs than it has disclosed.
Here is a summary of all findings related to the subject of UFOs and extraterrestrial life. The results are based on telephone interviews conducted September 3 through 5, 1996 with 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and up. On this basis, Gallup states with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is + or - 3 percentage points.
* Question: Have you heard or read about UFOs?
Yes: 87% No: 13%
Though high, this number has steadily declined over the last four Gallup polls on UFOs. In 1990, 90% said yes; in 1978, 93% said yes; and in 1973, 95% said yes.
* Question: Have you, yourself, ever seen anything you thought was a UFO?
Yes: 12% No: 87% No opinion: 1%
This number has varied only slightly over the years. In 1990, 14% said yes; in 1973, 11% said yes.
* Question: In your opinion, are UFOs something real, or just people's
Real: 48% Imagination: 31% No opinion: 21%
In 1990, 47% said real; while in 1978, 57% said real.
* Question: Do you think that UFOs have ever visited the earth in some
form, or not?
Yes: 45% No: 39% No opinion: 16%
This question has not been asked on previous polls. It obviously implies, though it does not specifically state, that "UFO" is equivalent to "extraterrestrial spacecraft." The previous question about the reality of UFOs does not necessarily carry the same implication.
The next two questions were each asked of only half the sample, 500 people per question. The margin of error for these questions is + or - 5%.
* Question: Do you think there are people somewhat like ourselves living
on other planets in the universe, or not?
Yes: 38% No: 44% No opinion: 18%
In 1990, 46% said yes; while in 1978, 51% said yes.
* Question: Do you think there is life of some form on other planets in
the universe or not?
Yes: 72% No: 19% No opinion: 9%
This question has not been asked on previous polls.
The final question was asked of the entire sample of 1,000 people.
* Question: In your opinion, does the U.S. government know more about
than they are telling us?
Yes: 71% No: 19% No opinion: 10%
This question has not been asked on previous Gallup polls. The very high affirmative seems to indicate a strong constituency that could be mobilized in support of an end to official UFO secrecy.
In contrast to the numbers of people who believe UFOs are real (48%), belief in ghosts and various paranormal or metaphysical phenomena were mostly lower. For example:
* Do you believe in channeling?
Believe: 12% Not sure: 21% Don't believe: 64%
* Do you believe in astrology?
Believe: 25% Not sure: 22% Don't believe: 52%
* Do you believe in ghosts?
Believe: 30% Not sure: 19% Don't believe: 50%
However, belief in the devil is higher, at 56%, than belief in UFOs; and belief in angels is much higher: 72%.
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