Americans Pass Judgment on the Plausibility UFO’s, Extraterrestrial Visits and Life Itself

Monday, June 29, 2015

Washington, D.C. – A majority (56%) of Americans believe that Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) but less than half (45%) believe that aliens/extraterrestrials have visited Earth according to a new poll released today by Ipsos Public Affairs.

Further, the poll indicates eight in ten (79%) of Americans believe in life on other planets and a majority (57%) believe the universe began with a Big Bang. But the survey also shows that Americans are conflicted on (or open to) various concepts as to how life evolved on planet Earth itself: two thirds (65%) believe in the theory of evolution for life on earth and six in ten (59%) say life on earth was guided by a higher being, but almost as many (62%) who believe in Creationism.

Majority (56%) of Americans believe in UFO’s…

Of those Americans who believe that UFOs exist (56%), men (59%) are more likely to do so than women (52%) but there’s little variation in terms of age – equal numbers of young (57% of those 18 to 34 years of age) and older (57% of those 55+) Americans believe in UFOs with 54% of those aged 35 to 54 just behind. In terms of geography, those most likely to believe in UFOs live in the US Northeast (59%) and the West (58%) compared with those who live in the south (56%) and in the Midwest (50%). Those with lower income (62% under $50k HHI) are most likely to believe of all categories in the existence of UFOs followed by those more affluent (52% $50k+).

Of those who don’t believe that UFOs exist (44%), more women (48%) than men (41%) share this view most likely living in the Midwest (50%) followed by those in the south (44%), the West (42%) and the Northeast (41%). Middle-aged Americans (46%) are more likely to disbelieve in UFOs than those aged 18 – 34/55+ (43%) and half (48%) of those earning $50k+ are more likely to not believe in UFOs than those earning less than $50k (38%).

Less than Half (45%) Believe Aliens/Extraterrestrials Have Visited Earth...

While a majority of Americans may believe that UFOs have hovered above the ground less than half (45%) believe that aliens/extraterrestrials who actually visited Earth. Of those who believe that these intergalactic travelers have stepped on terra firma they are most likely to be men (51%) compared to women (41%) and living in the North Eastern United States (50%) followed by those in the South (47%), the west (45%) and the Midwest (40%). There’s no differentiation in age on this belief (46% 18 – 34, 46% 55+, 45% 35 – 54) but there is in income: 51% of those earning less than $50k differ with the 42% who earn over$50k.

Of the majority of Americans (55%) who don’t believe that aliens/extraterrestrials have visited Earth they are most likely to be women (59%) versus men (49%) with little age discrepancy (55% 35 – 54, 54% 18 – 34/55+) and most likely living in the Midwest (60%) followed by those in the West (55%) the South (53%) and the Northeast (50%). Those more affluent Americans (58% $50k+) are more likely to reject this idea than those of lower income (49% earning under $50k).

Majority (79%) Believe in Life on Other Planets…

Eight in 10 Americans (79%) believe that life on other planets is plausible. Man (82%) are more likely than women (76%) to believe this and are more likely to live in the Northeast/south (81%) followed by those in the West (78%) and the Midwest (75%). Younger Americans (83% aged 18 to 34) are more likely to believe this then those who are older (78% aged 55+) and those who are middle-aged (77% aged 35 to 54). Those earning over $50k (80%) are just as likely as those earning less than $50k (78%) to believe that life is plausible on other planets.

Of those who don’t believe that life is plausible on other planets (21%) they are more likely to be women (24%) than men (18%) and most likely living in the Midwest (25%) followed by those in the west (22%), and the Northeast/South (19%). Middle-aged Americans (23% aged 35 – 54) and older Americans (22% aged 55+) are less likely to believe in this proposition than those who are youngest (17% aged 18 – 34). Lower income Americans (22% under $50K) are just as likely as those more affluent Americans (20% $50k+) to disbelieve in life on other planets.

Majority (57%) Believe in the Big Bang Theory…

A majority (57%) of Americans believe that the universe began from a single point in space and time – the Big Bang theory. Men (66%) are more likely than women (48%) to believe in this theory and those younger (70% aged 18 – 34) are far more likely than those who are middle-aged (55% 35 – 54) and older (48% 55+) to believe the same. Those Americans living in the Northeast (68%) are more likely to believe in the Big Bang theory than those living in the West (63%), the Midwest (53%) and those in the South (51%). Higher income Americans (66% $50k+) are more likely to believe in the Big Bang than those who are less affluent (52% earning under $50k).

Those who don’t believe in the Big Bang theory (43%) are more likely to be women (52%) than men (34%) and older (52% 55+) compared to those who are middle-aged (45% 35 – 54) and younger (30% 18 – 34). They are also most likely to live in the South (49%) followed by those in the Midwest (47%), the west (37%) and the North East) and/or more likely to be less affluent (48% earning $50k) compared to those earning more (40% $50k+).

Americans Conflicted on Origins of Life on Earth…

A vast majority of Americans may agree that life is plausible on other planets but they are conflicted over the origin of life on their own.

Majority (65%) Believe in Theory of Evolution for Life on Earth…

Two thirds (65%) of Americans believe that life on earth came about through natural processes following observable rules of biology and physics – also known as the theory of evolution. Men (71%) are more likely than women (60%) to believe in evolution and are most likely to live in the Northeast (7%) and the West (69%) followed by those in the Midwest (61%) and the South (60%). Younger Americans (74% 18 – 34) are also most likely to believe in evolution compared with those middle-aged (percent 35 – 54) and older (58% 55+) and are also likely to be more affluent (68% $50k+) compared with those less so (61% under $50k).

One third (35%) of Americans don’t believe in the theory of evolution – particularly those who are women (40%) compared to men (29%). As far as geography is concerned, those living in the South (40%) and the Midwest (39%) are less likely to believe in evolution than those in the West (31%) and Northeast (23%). Americans who are older (42% 55+) are also less likely to believe in evolution than those who are middle-aged (35% 35 – 54) and younger (26% 18 – 34), along with those of lower income (39% under $50k) compared to those who are earning more (32% $50k+).

And Majority (59%) Believe that Life on Earth was Guided by a Higher Being…

Six in 10 (59%) Americans believe that life on earth came about through natural processes that were guided by a higher being – that life emerged and progressed with an Intelligent design. Men (60%) and women (58%) are equally likely to believe this with little different in age dynamics: older (62% 55+), younger (59% 18 – 34) and middle-aged (57% 35 – 54). This view is most likely to be supported by those who live in the South (66%) followed by those who are in the Northeast (56%), Midwest (55% and the West (54%). Those of lower income (64% under $50k) also believe in this perspective compared to those who are more affluent (56% $50k).

A minority (41%) of Americans don’t believe that life on earth came about through natural processes that were guided by a higher being (Intelligent design) with little different between women (42%) and men (40%) who have this view as well as those who are middle-aged (43% 35-54), younger (41% 18 – 34) and older (38% 55+). They are also most likely to live in the west (46%) and in the Midwest (45%), and the Northeast (44%) trailed by those who live in the South (34%). Those of a higher income (44% $50k+) are more likely to take this point of view than those who are less affluent (36% under $50k).

But Two Thirds (62%) Also Believe in Creationism…

Two thirds (62%) of Americans believe that life on earth was created by specific act (or ask) of a higher being (Creationism). Women (68%) are far more likely to believe in this than men (56%) and are most likely to live in the South (67%) compared with those who live in the Northeast/Midwest (61%) and the West (56%). Older (68% 55+) Americans are more likely to take this perspective that those who are middle-aged (35 – 54) and younger (57% 18 – 34). Lower income Americans (70% under $50k) are far more likely than higher earning Americans (56% $50k+) to believe in Creationism.

Four in 10 (38%) of Americans don’t believe that life on earth was created by specific act (or ask) of a higher being (Creationism). Men (44%) are more likely to reject creationism than women (32%) along with younger Americans (43% 18 – 34) compared to middle-aged (39% 35 – 54) and older (32% 55+) Americans. Those living in the West (44%) are most likely to reject Creationism compared with those living in the Northeast/Midwest (39%) and the South (33%) and those who are more affluent (44% $50k+) versus those who are lower income (30% earning under $50k).

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted June 23-25, 2015. For the survey, a sample of 1,005 adults, ages 18+ were interviewed online. The precision of the Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all adults. For more information about credibility intervals, please see the appendix.

The data were weighted to the U.S. current population data by gender, age, education, and ethnicity. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Figures marked by an asterisk (*) indicate a percentage value of greater than zero but less than one half of one per cent. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. To see more information on this and other Reuters/Ipsos polls, please visit http://polling.reuters.com/.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
202.420.2011
chris.jackson@ipsos.com

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

With offices in 87 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management.

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Americans Pass Judgment on the Plausibility UFO’s, Extraterrestrial Visits and Life Itself

Contact

Chris Jackson
Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1.202.420.2025
chris.jackson@ipsos.com