"We found clear evidence that the United States is a strongly conspiratorial society."
With Halloween right around the corner, what better time for Chapman University researchers to complete their third annual Survey of American Fears?
The 2016 survey included over 1,500 adult participants across the United States, and the dataset was organized into six basic categories: personal fears, conspiracy theories, terrorism, natural disasters, paranormal fears, and fear of Muslims.
"We found clear evidence that the United States is a strongly conspiratorial society," study lead author Christopher Bader, a sociologist at Chapman University, said in a press statement.
Interestingly, the data revealed that more than half of Americans believe that the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks, as well as the John F. Kennedy assassination. And the conspiratorial beliefs don’t end there — 42.6 percent of Americans believe the government is hiding information about alien encounters, 30.2 percent are skeptical about President Obama’s birth certificate, and 24.2 percent believe in moon landing conspiracies.
The survey found the following to be the top 10 fears of Americans, in order:
Corruption of government officials
Not having enough money for the future
Being a victim of terror
Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition
People I love dying
Economic or financial collapse
People I love becoming seriously ill
The Affordable Health Care Act/”Obamacare”
"The 2016 survey data shows us the top fears have shifted from last year's, which were heavily based in economic and 'big brother' type issues to include more health and financial fears this year," said Bader. "People often fear what they cannot control, and we find continued evidence of that in our top fears."
Interestingly, through analyzing the survey demographics, the team found that the most likely person to believe in a conspiracy is an employed Republican, with a rather low level of income and education, and likely to be Catholic but doesn’t attend religious services often.
"Conspiracy theorists tend to be more pessimistic about the near future, fearful of government, less trusting of other people in their lives and more likely to engage in actions due to their fears, such as purchasing a gun," Bader added.
Further information on the 2016 Survey of American Fears can be accessed here.