Mayan apocalypse notwithstanding, an astonishing percentage of Americans polled sincerely believe that the world will end within their lifetime.
Nearly a quarter of all respondents insisted that some catastrophe, whether religious or natural, would wipe all life off the face of the earth within the span of one human life. Even more astonishing is the fact that nearly 10% of American respondents believe the world will end this year.
The poll was conducted by Ipsos Global Public Affairs working on behalf of Reuters. Karen Gottfried, Ipsos’ research manager on the project had this to say about the results: “Whether they think it will come to an end through the hands of God, or a natural disaster or a political event, whatever the reason, one in seven thinks the end of the world is coming.
Perhaps it is because of the media attention coming from one interpretation of the Mayan prophecy that states the world ends in our calendar year 2012.”
Ipsos didn’t just poll Americans. They sent their questionnaire to 16,262 people in 20 different countries around the world. Not surprisingly, results varied greatly depending on where the respondents lived.
The French were among the least superstitious, with only 6% answering that the world would most likely end in their lifetimes. The U.S. and Turkey had the highest doom and gloom indexes, clocking in at 22% for each.