Monday, February 23, 2015

What are the most folks in Sioux City, Iowa scared of?

Last Thursday the Sioux City Journal did an online poll that asked What is your greatest fear? and asked for a choice from a list of five possibilities. As is shown above, results were:

1]  33.5% Snakes and/or spiders

2]  30.3% Heights

3]  27.1% Public speaking

4]  5.2% Dancing in public

5]  3.9% Flying

The article showed a pie chart, from which I scaled the angles for the 4th and 5th items. Ranking for the first three items is the same as found in a March 2014 YouGov survey on U.S. adults, where for Very Afraid there were 32% snakes, 24% heights, and 20% public speaking. (In that survey 4th was 19% spiders, followed by 15% being closed in a small space and 14% flying on an airplane). 

The 4th item, dancing in public, was a surprise. I don’t recall seeing it as a question before. It isn’t on the 51-item Fear Survey Schedule II or the 108-item Fear Survey Schedule III, which I’ve blogged about.

Where had that question come from, and was it about a fear of dancing itself, or a fear of being arrested for an illegal act? Back in 1984 the movie Footloose described the fictitious town of Bomont, which had a ban on teen dancing and was based on the real town of Elmore City, Oklahoma. Elmore City relented in 1980, and began allowing a prom. I found that the musical version of Footloose was performed by the community theater of Sioux City back in 2013. Perhaps that had inspired the poll question.    

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