Summary: Overview and highlights from the recent poll, "UFOs and Extraterrestrial Life".
Most Americans Psychologically and Spiritually Prepared for Proof of Extraterrestrial Life
Most Americans appear comfortable with and even excited about the thought of the discovery of extraterrestrial life. Three-quarters of the public claim they are at least somewhat psychologically prepared for the discovery of extraterrestrial life, and nearly half are very prepared.
Such a discovery would not be difficult for most Americans to reconcile with their religious beliefs. Should the government make an announcement about the discovery of extraterrestrial life, only a very small proportion expect it to change their religious beliefs at all.
Furthermore, slightly more than half of Americans are at least somewhat interested in personally encountering extraterrestrial lifeforms here on earth. This is particularly true of males and of 18-to-24-year-olds.
Government Knows More Than It Is Telling
In the view of many adults (55 percent), the government does not share enough information with the public in general. An even greater proportion (roughly seven in ten) thinks that the government does not tell us everything it knows about extraterrestrial life and UFOs. The younger the age, the stronger the belief that the government is withholding information about these topics.
This is not a situation that most Americans would like to have continue. Provided national security is not at risk, most believe that the government should share information it has about other intelligent life and UFOs with the public. Males and adults below the age of 65 are more inclined to support the declassification of government information relating to such phenomena. Naturally, those with a belief and an interest in extraterrestrial life are also more likely proponents of revealing such information to the public.
The Alien Next Door?
Perhaps Americans expect to take a government announcement about extraterrestrial life in stride because many Americans already believe in the extraterrestrial. Two-thirds of Americans say they think there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe and nearly half say they believe that UFOs have visited the earth in some form over the years (48 percent) or that aliens have monitored life on earth (45 percent). In fact, more than one in three Americans (37 percent) believe that humans have already interacted with extraterrestrial lifeforms. These beliefs tend to be more prevalent among males and among adults under the age of 65.
When it comes to alien abductions, one in five Americans in general and more than half (57 percent) of those who say that humans have already interacted with extraterrestrial life believe that abductions have taken place. Once again, males and 18-to-64-year-olds are most likely to hold such a belief.
One in seven Americans say that they or someone they know has had at least one "close encounter" of the "First," "Second," or "Third" kind. The largest proportion (12 percent) say they or someone else they know has seen a UFO at close quarters. Much smaller proportions say they or an acquaintance have seen a UFO cause a physical effect on objects, animals, or humans (3 percent) or have had an encounter with extraterrestrial life (2 percent). Among those who believe in abductions, one-third claim to have experienced, or know someone who experienced, a Close Encounter of their own.
When it comes to other unusual personal experiences, 1.4 percent, or 2.9 million Americans, say they have experienced at least four of five key events that believers of UFO abductions have identified as being of particular interest in examining whether UFO abductions might actually have taken place. Perhaps not surprisingly, those who believe in abductions and who have experienced, or know someone who experienced, a Close Encounter are more inclined to report an occurrence of at least four such events.