If the American public's attitude toward the Ebola outbreak is any indication, fear is a very powerful thing. It can keep us up at night and haunt us during the day. What we fear collectively as Americans has changed over time, informed by larger political and cultural conversations. While fear of Communism was prevalent in the 1950s, our fear today revolves more around US government snooping and the loss of our personal privacy.
Chapman University has conducted an inaugural poll surveying 1,500 people to find out what they are most afraid of. The study also studied various characteristics to see what correlated with being afraid, including: age, gender, race, work status, education, income, geographic region, urban vs. rural living, political preference, religion, TV viewing, and gun ownership.
Ed Day, Director of the Earl Babbie Research Center and the chair of the Department of Sociology at Chapman University. He’s part of a team of researcher behind the inaugural “Chapman Survey on American Fears”