As a divided nation takes sides in the upcoming Congressional midterm elections, Americans of all ages and political persuasions appear united on at least one controversial issue — UFOs.
Results of a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released Wednesday show more than one-third of Americans think it's "plausible" that extraterrestrials crash-landed at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
The poll, taken prior to the first Congressional hearings on UFO sightings on May 17, also shows that 12% of respondents believe the infamous alleged UFO crash in Roswell is "very likely to be true," while 285 Americans or 28% say that it’s “not at all likely” to be true.
The poll also shines a light on Roswell as the 75th anniversary of the alleged close encounter approaches next week.
“Roswell has become part of our national folklore,” said FDU Poll director Dan Cassino. “This is not a fringe belief: if you ask your friends and neighbors, you’re going to find people who think it’s true.”
Remarkably, the percentage of those who want to believe is relatively consistent among age groups and political parties.
Thirty-four percent of Democrats responding to the poll say that it is “somewhat” or “very” likely that aliens crash-landed at Roswell in 1947, very close to the 31% of Republicans who say the same.
Young and old Americans are similarly on-board: 32% of respondents under age 30 say the Roswell event is plausible compared with 35% of seniors 65 and over.
Documented reports state that on June 14, 1947, William “Mack” Brazel and his sons were making rounds on a ranch and found debris they could not identify. Later, he reported the debris to the sheriff's office, now linking it to sightings of “flying discs” that had made national news in the interim. The sheriff passed on the information to soldiers at a nearby Army airfield.
The following day, the public relations officer claimed the debris was from a flying saucer, and had been recovered by the military. That release was quickly retracted, as the regional commander and his staff identified it as coming from a balloon.
Roswell is now home to the International UFO Museum and hosts an annual festival, attracting between 10,000 and 20,000 attendees annually, with almost 200,000 visiting the museum annually.
Use of social media, where conspiracy theories flourish, appears to have no effect on whether people believe in the Roswell landing. Respondents who say that they use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are no more likely than other Americans to say that it’s plausible.
“It’s fashionable to blame social media for the failure to agree upon basic facts,” said Cassino. “That’s true with a lot of beliefs, but Roswell stands apart. It’s not something people are just learning about by watching YouTube.”
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Regular consumers of more traditional media were more inclined to believe. Loyal viewers of Fox News (40%) and talk radio (37%) were more likely than other Americans to believe the landing was possible. Americans who report listening to NPR regularly were less likely to think so (27%).
“Lots of people have reasons to not trust the government,” said Cassino. “If you don’t trust the government in general, you’re not going to trust their explanations for what happened at Roswell.”
The survey was conducted between April 24 and April 29, using a certified list of adult U.S. residents nationwide. Respondents were randomly chosen and contacted via either live-caller telephone interviews or text-to-web surveys sent to cellular phones, resulting in an overall sample of 1,021 respondents.
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on Morristown Daily Record: Third of Americans believe in Roswell UFO landing: FDU poll