Nearly half (48 percent) of Americans expect the US to be embroiled in a world war in the next 10 years.
That number fell from 56 percent who believed that in 2016. It also means a fall from the peak of 63 percent that felt like that in 2002 – right after the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of the General Social Survey, a comprehensive opinion poll that has had American attitudes since 1972 and beliefs follows.
Yet the numbers still represent a significant segment of society that anticipates a grim, warring future.
& # 39; In some respects, it is a fairly sensible position in the sense that the US has been at war for most of its years since its foundation & # 39 ;, said MacDara King, Chief Information Officer of the Foreign Policy Association, in a interview with DailyMail.com.
& # 39; But I think people are responding to the end of this unipolar world (in which one country exerts the most cultural, economic and military influence), while we consider the rise of China as another major power & # 39 ;, King added to it. & # 39; And there is also a feeling that part of the order is lost after the Second World War. Many of the institutions that we have set up (such as the UN) – it seems that solving world problems is not as useful as many would have hoped it would be. & # 39;
This graph illustrates the proportion of all American adults who thought that a world war was imminent within the next 10 years, for the period 1976-2018. Source: General Social Survey – NORC at the University of Chicago
King noted, however, that the 8% drop since 2016 was part of the & # 39; globalist perspective & # 39; could be.
& # 39; I think we've seen it under Obama: Americans are tired of waging war, & # 39; he said. & # 39; So there was a relapse, there was less involvement in Syria, and I think we see it as a logical continuation with the desire of Americans to stop controlling the world and be a little more concerned about problems at home from infrastructure to education to healthcare. & # 39;
With generations of instability in the Middle East and a heartwarming relationship between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Americans have plenty to worry about – even though US forces continue to withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria .
& # 39; I think people get the feeling that there is more and more disorder in the world and I think that's what is behind this sense of imminent conflict, & # 39; said King.
& # 39; People have also seen increasing expansionism – we have seen the annexation of Crimea by Russia and in particular the special relationship building between Russia and China, which concerns some people, & # 39; he added.
This graph illustrates the proportion of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who believed that a world war was imminent in the next 10 years, for the period 1976-2018. Source: General Social Survey – NORC at the University of Chicago
This graph illustrates the proportion of white and black Americans – from 1976-2018 – who expected a world war to break out in the next decade. Source: General Social Survey – NORC at the University of Chicago
Opinions broke along partisan lines: in 2018, the Democrats had a greater chance (52 percent) of expecting a world war, compared to 42 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents.
Among the Republicans there was a 15 percentage point decrease in 2018 compared to 2016, when 57 percent expected a new world war on the horizon, especially since Trump took office.
Black Americans are more likely (59 percent) to propose a war in the nation's future than white Americans, (48 percent) – a spread of 11 points.
Interestingly, the expectation of an impending world war reached a peak among African Americans with 72 percent in 1993, the year after the Los Angeles race riots.
Meanwhile, white Americans are the least concerned about a global war they have been since 2000, while only 33 percent felt that such a conflict was inevitable.
In general, only 36 percent of Americans expected a world war in 2000 – signaling a period of innocence before 9/11 pushed that fear to a record high in 2002.
However, things have shifted since the era of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, said Gregory Payne, a professor at Emerson College and an expert on diplomatic issues.
& # 39; Americans tend to see the world through a black or white prism and there is a lack of sophistication by many Americans to see the complexity of many global problems & # 39 ;, Payne told DailyMail.com. & # 39; There is also a tendency for many Americans to view America as the problem solver. & # 39;
This graph illustrates the proportion of men and women – from 1976-2018 – who expected a world war to break out in the next decade. Source: General Social Survey – NORC at the University of Chicago
This graph shows the proportion of each socio-economic class that the US believes is destined to enter a world war over the next 10 years based on the 2018 responses. Source: General Social Survey – NORC at the University of Chicago
& # 39; If you see America as the world agent and there are negative things going on in the world, then many Americans will see that we are likely to engage in some sort of conflict to correct that situation, & # 39; he said.
Given the decline since 2016, Payne said that Trump & # 39; s & # 39; America First & # 39; philosophy – which focuses on prioritizing this country over others in diplomacy decisions – could have convinced more Americans that a global conflict less likely while in charge.
& # 39; What the president said is that America will be much more passive & # 39 ;, Payne said. & # 39; We are not going to participate; other people will have to pay for things themselves. & # 39;
Women were more likely (53 percent) to fear a brewing global conflict than men (40 percent) – a 13-point difference in 2018.
Women have traditionally been more likely to anticipate another world war, with most years higher than men on the question, since the General Social Survey asked the question for the first time in 1976.
When broken down by age group, Americans aged 35-49 are most likely to have a world war (52.4 percent) compared to 18-34 years (48.3 percent), 50-64 years (45.1 percent) and age 65 and older (42.1 percent).
Opinions were also divided along class lines, with the richest Americans least likely to fear a world war (23 percent) compared to 44 percent of the middle class, 49 percent of the poorest Americans and 53 percent of the working class.
This graph shows the proportion of each age group that believes that the US is destined for a world war within the next 10 years, based on the 2018 responses to the survey. Source: General Social Survey – NORC at the University of Chicago