, NEW YORKJan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Harris Poll measures how many people expect various events will happen in the next decade, in the next 50 years and in the rest of the 21st century. Large majorities believe that all 15 events on the list will happen eventually, and that many of them will happen sometime in this century. However, only one of them – a major terrorist attack on the U.S. – is seen by a majority (54%) as likely to happen in the next ten years.
Other events that are seen as likely to occur in the next ten years by sizable minorities are electing a female president (35%), China replacing the U.S. as the world's most powerful economic country (30%), a biological or chemical attack on the U.S. (29%), and that global warming and climate change will have a big impact (22%).
At the other (least likely) end of the spectrum, very few people expect that in the next decade there will be an end to the obesity epidemic (7%), a nuclear war (8%), a revolution overthrowing the U.S. government (8%), or that smoking tobacco will almost disappear (9%).
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,331 adults surveyed online between December 6 and 13, 2010 by Harris Interactive.
The Next 50 Years
Majorities of all adults believe that the following are likely to occur in the next 50 years:
Later This Century
Majorities of all adults believe that the following are likely to happen in the next 90 years:
Most people (75%) believe that that eventually human life on Earth will end, but only 19% think that will happen in the 21st century.
This data represent predictions, not forecasts. And, history is littered with forecasts by the best and the brightest that proved to be completely wrong, including: "everything that can be invented has beeninvented" (1899, Charles Duell), "it will be years – not in my time – before a woman will become primeminister" (1969, Margaret Thatcher), "that Virus (HIV) is a pussycat" (1988, Peter Duesberg), "Reagandoes not have that presidential look" (1964, United Artists executive), "man will not fly for 50 years" (1901,Wilbur Wright), the light bulb is "a conspicuous failure" (1880, Henry Morton), "data processing is a fad that won't last out the year" (1957, Prentice Hall), "radio has no future" (1897, Lord Kelvin), "space travel is utter bilge" (1956, Richard Wooley) and "fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time"(1889, Thomas Edison).
One other point is worth making. Contrary to some other polls, this survey finds that almost everyone (84%) believes that global warming and climate change will eventually have a big impact. The question is not if but when. The split is between those who believe that it will have an impact in the next 50 years (49%) – of whom 22% think it will happen in the next decade – and those who think it will happen later in the future (35%).
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 6 to 13, 2010 among 2,331 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.
The Harris Poll® #2, January 6, 2011
By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
SOURCE Harris Interactive