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61% of Americans believe in another world war, only 9% willing to serve if called

Besides 68% of Americans believe that a future world war would likely involve nuclear weapons.
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61% of Americans believe in another world war, only 9% willing to serve if called

A recent YouGov survey sheds light on American perceptions regarding the likelihood of another world war and their willingness to participate in it. Conducted from February 1 to 7, 2024, the survey polled 1,000 US adult citizens, providing a glimpse into the nation’s mindset as global dynamics continue to shift.

The survey reveals that a significant portion of Americans – 61% – believe another world war is on the horizon, with 22% considering it very likely and 39% somewhat likely to occur within the next five to ten years. This sentiment is particularly strong among Republicans, with one-third expressing a strong belief in the inevitability of it, compared to 20% of Independents and 16% of Democrats.

When it comes to the potential involvement of the United States in a future global war, 77% of respondents anticipate that the country would play a role, while only 6% believe it would remain uninvolved. The perceived adversaries in this hypothetical war are primarily Russia and China, with 72% and 69% of Americans, respectively, expecting their involvement on opposing sides to the US Conversely, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Israel are seen as likely allies, with 67%, 58%, and 58% of respondents expecting their alignment with the US

In scenarios where the US and its allies face off against Russia, China, or both, Americans generally expect a victory for Western nations. Specifically, 53% foresee a win against Russia, 48% against China, and 45% in a combined war with both nations. Confidence in victory is even higher among Republicans, with 60% predicting a win against Russia, 56% against China, and 55% against both nations together.

Despite the anticipation of war, the willingness of Americans to actively participate is limited. Only 6% would volunteer for military service in the event of a world war, with an additional 9% willing to serve if called up. However, if the US faced an imminent threat of invasion, the willingness to volunteer for military service increases to 16%. When it comes to non-combat roles, 19% express a willingness to volunteer in a world war scenario, and 26% would do so if the US were under direct threat.

Earlier, the GLOBSEC report suggested that the ongoing Russia’s war against Ukraine could lead to multiple regional conflicts worldwide, with countries harboring imperialistic ambitions potentially trying to absorb smaller independent states. These conflicts could arise in areas like the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and the Balkans. Russia, bogged down in Ukraine, may initiate new conflicts to overstretch Western allies, potentially triggering ecological disasters or disrupting grain exports from Ukraine​.

The survey by YouGov also explores attitudes toward the use of nuclear weapons in potential wars. A significant 68% of Americans believe that a future world war would likely involve nuclear weapons. In hypothetical scenarios where Russia or China use nuclear weapons against Ukraine or Taiwan, respectively, most Americans favor some form of action, though few endorse nuclear retaliation. However, if the US were the target of a nuclear attack, support for nuclear retaliation increases, with 27% backing it against a military target and 38% advocating for it if a city were targeted.

The YouGov poll, conducted online, utilized sample matching based on demographic factors such as gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration. The sample was weighted to reflect various demographic and political characteristics, with a margin of error for the overall sample of approximately 4%.

A poll commissioned by the Ronald Reagan Institute found that as of November 2023, 59% of Americans support providing military aid to Ukraine. The same poll also showed that 56% of Americans support sending military equipment to Taiwan, and 71% support US military aid for Israel. This survey was conducted among 2,506 US adults from October 27 to November 5.


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