(OPINION) – Fifty-one percent of Americans believe UFOs reported by military personnel are likely evidence of intelligent alien life, according to a new poll released by Pew last week.
Why it matters: Questions about whether smart aliens have come to visit Earth have been asked for decades, and these results show that curiosity — which can sometimes verge into conspiracy theory — persists.
What they found: The new poll surveyed 10,417 U.S. adults in June ahead of the release of a UFO report mandated by Congress and made public at the end of June.
About 65% of respondents said they think there is intelligent alien life on planets other than Earth, and about 87% said UFOs aren’t a security threat to the U.S. at all or only represent a minor one, Pew found.
According to the poll, only 12% of American adults had heard or read a lot about the UFO report before its release.
“Some segments of the public are more likely than others to believe that intelligent life exists on other planets,” Pew wrote in a release.
“This view is especially pronounced among younger Americans. About three-quarters (76%) of adults under age 30 say intelligent life exists on other planets, versus 57% of those 50 and older.” FULL REPORT
Meanwhile, a Gallup poll taken several years ago revealed that the highest level of belief (87%) comes from a simple yes/no question, “Do you believe in God?” which Gallup last asked in 2017.
Belief drops to 79% when respondents are given three options, one being God is something they believe in. The rest are either not sure whether they believe in God or firmly say they do not believe in God.
Belief in God appears even lower when isolating just those from the five-part question who say they are “convinced” God exists, 64%. While all three measures of belief have exhibited declines, this group’s drop has been the steepest.
The array of Gallup results leads to the conclusion that putting a percentage on Americans’ belief in God depends on how you define “belief.” If the standard is absolute certainty — no hedging and no doubts — it’s somewhere around two-thirds. If the standard is a propensity to believe rather than not to believe, then the figure is somewhere north of three-quarters. FULL REPORT