Do people fear clowns over climate change?

By |2016-11-07T22:18:50+00:00November 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|3 Comments

clown-frightIf you distrust different polls ranking Hillary and Donald as scariest presidential choices, how about conflicting surveys comparing people more afraid of clowns than global warming?

According to an October 15-17 Vox Morning Consult poll of 1,999 Americans, clown fright beat out climate sweats by 42% versus 32%. Vox followed up on an October 11 Chapman University poll of 1,511 which awarded the terror tribute to climate calamity over clown phobia by 32.3% versus 7.8%.

Incidentally, these Chapman ranking differences narrow to only a 2.4% when adding people who are “afraid or very afraid” of zombies (10.2%), and ghosts (8.9%).

Those averages flip to a comparative 4.4% net climate ranking deficit when including still another 10.2% who fear strangers in general.

Whereas the VOX ranked clown fear second only to that of government corruption (60.6%), Chapman placed climate change in a tie for 17th among things that Americans worry most about. Other major anxieties included not having enough money for the future (39.9%), terrorism (38.5%) and Obamacare (35.5%).

Why the calamitous clown consternation?

Well it seems that since August of this year more than 100 U.S. saverealscientssightings have reported highly suspicious and creepy red-nosed figures holding black balloons in empty parking lots and menacing motorists on remote country roads during wee morning hours.

Many have even been seen hanging around fast food restaurants frequented by impressionable children during broad daylight.

Zachary Crockett at notes that clown fear ranked highest among those in age groups between 18 and 54. Of those aged 18-29, 62% reported being somewhere between “very afraid” and “a little afraid.”  Of those between ages of 30-44, 52% shared this range of views; followed by 40% of the 45-50 year-old responders.

Apparently by ages of 55-64 most people have encountered enough insipid clowns in their daily lives to fear them less . . . only 30% really caring much one way or another.

assclownAfter age 65 only about one-quarter give a damn. It’s unclear, however, whether this observed age-related indifference also applies as readily to the climate alarm circus variety.

Regarding polls, a 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that individual opinions regarding global warming and other environmental issues are sharply divided between two political “typology groups.” Republicans, including those they designated as “steadfast conservatives” and “business conservatives” tended to be skeptical about any reasons for global warming concern and regulatory imperatives, while liberal groups (“solid liberals” and the “next generation left”) tend to hold opposite views.

Overall, while 61% of the public believed there is solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has warmed “over the past few decades,” 35% disagreed.

Among the majority, 40% thought that this warming was primarily caused by human activity, and 18% attributed it to natural patterns.

I will interject here that I believe that both opinions are partly right.

Although satellite records show no warming for nearly two decades ronmcd(other than naturally occurring El Nino events in 1998 and 2014-2016), few should dispute that warming has been occurring in fits and starts since the five-century-long “Little Ice Age” ended in the mid-1800s . . . before the Industrial Revolution brought the world smoke stacks and SUVs.

Whereas 75% of the steadfast conservatives and 71% of business conservatives doubted that solid evidence of warming existed, 91% of solid liberals stated that the Earth is warming, with 78% attributing this to human activity.

Nearly three-quarters of all conservatives believed that the country has already gone too far in regulatory efforts to control climate, compared with 96% of solid liberals who disagreed.

A small 56% majority of the total public believed that “stricter environmental laws are worth the cost,” while nearly four in 10 stated that tougher environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy. A full 93% of solid liberals and 81% of next generation left respondents held the first view, while steadfast (85%) and business conservatives (84%) expressed the latter.

dumbgoreWhile no poll I am familiar with correlates political orientations with clown fear, anecdotal evidence suggests that liberals appear to exhibit highest levels of complacency.

Take divergent views towards Ronald McDonald and Al Gore for example.

Some conservatives even speculate that without the red wig, lipstick and baggy pants they are secretly the same individual.

Before dismissing this as merely another scary right wing conspiracy theory, perhaps remember that many also doubted Clark Kent’s true identity as Superman.

Besides, why should liberals be offended? Haven’t both superheroes similarly worked to save the planet from evil humans?

The main challenge, as I see it, is figuring out how Ronald, unlike Clark, manages to change into his Al costume in small telephone booths.


  1. Richard Garber November 8, 2016 at 4:43 PM


    The October 21st VOX article “How afraid of clowns are you?” is wrong to compare 42% from the sum of three categories with results from the Chapman Survey that are the sum of two categories. A correct comparison of the VOX result would use 22% rather than 42%, so people really fear climate change over clowns. See my October 25th blog post at JOyful Public Speaking titled

    Are Americans really more afraid of clowns than climate change, terrorism, and death?

    • Mike Menlo November 17, 2016 at 1:40 AM

      Yes, no, and no

  2. NotMyPrez May 13, 2017 at 5:14 PM

    As a Veteran, I am mostly afraid Trump-Clown will seek a little ‘war’ to call his own. In this short fantasy war, under Trumps direct war-room control, ALL the ‘bad guys’ will die, BIGLY, and a couple of our guys got a nick on their arms from gunfire, that’s all. It’s a childish dream fight, but he wants it bad for 2 reasons:

    1. It’s another ‘SQUIRREL!’ diversion from the multiple growing Russia investigations underway currently. With this much smoke and Trumps sloppy style, you can bet there is a lot more to come out, and it won’t be good for Trump, especially if his tax returns somehow surfaced.

    2. It would help his ratings which have sunk to a new low. On top of that, a recent Quinnipiac poll showed that, “idiot, incompetent and liar” were the most commonly given answers when respondents were asked for the first word that comes to mind when they think about President Trump.

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