Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Halloween Statistic - More Americans fear public speaking than fear zombies
Contrary to Doug Savage’s October 26th Savage Chickens cartoon about Zombie Stress (shown above), more Americans fear public speaking than fear zombies. Both the 2014 and 2015 Chapman University Surveys on American Fears found this. Using the sum of percentages for Very Afraid and Afraid, in 2014 Public Speaking was 25.3% while Zombies was 8.9%, and in 2015 Public Speaking was 28.4% while zombies was 8.5%.
A bar chart shows all the data for the four fear levels and refused (or don’t know) from the 2014 survey. (Click on it to see a larger, clearer view). For three fear levels of Very Afraid (8.8% vs 3.6%), Afraid (16.5% vs 5.3%) and Somewhat Afraid (36.6% vs 9.3%) more feared public speaking (yellow) than zombies (blue). Note that 77.8% were Not Afraid of zombies, so the majority of adults are willing to watch a television show or movie about the walking dead.
Another bar chart shows all the data for the four fear levels from the 2015 survey.. For three fear levels of Very Afraid (11.8% vs 4.7%), Afraid (16.6% vs 3.8%) and Slightly Afraid (33.6% vs 9.0%) more again feared public speaking than zombies. If you want to use this as a Startling Statistic for Halloween, be careful NOT to point out that public speaking only was ranked 26th and zombies ranked 83rd.
If you are looking for a Startling Statistic for year round use, you might say instead that more Americans fear public speaking than dying or dying alone. Detailed results for those questions from the 2015 Chapman Survey are shown above. Again, be careful NOT to point out that public speaking was ranked 26th while dying ranked 43rd and dying alone ranked 54th.
Anyone with an ax to grind (and perhaps use) can find a pair of things to compare on the 2015 Chapman Survey’s Complete List of Fears. Two headline examples are that Atlantic magazine had (sic) Americans are more afraid of robots than death, while Red Alert Politics had More Americans are afraid of Obamacare than dying.