Americans doubt Scientology, prefer Olympic gold to Pulitzer
Most Americans do not think Scientology is a true religion, more people would prefer to win an Olympic gold medal than a Pulitzer prize and celebrity endorsements do not carry much weight, according to a new poll.
Seventy percent of respondents to the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll said the controversial Church of Scientology, which is popular with Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, was not a real religion, but 13% said that it was.
Religious surveys have estimated that less than 100 000 Americans practice Scientology, which is often branded a cult by its critics.
“It’s a tribute to America’s tradition of religious tolerance that Scientology is accepted throughout the country,” the survey noted in its analysis of the results.
The poll also showed that brawn trumped brains with 40% of Americans saying they wanted an Olympic gold medal gracing their mantel, while 36% would prefer a Pulitzer prize and 7% wanted an Oscar.
On the home front, the Obamas were the clear choice when it came to which family children might marry into, with 19% choosing the presidential family compared with 18% for the Kennedys and the 16% for the British royal family.
On the weightier subject of illegal immigration, 18% of people questioned said that, if they saw a family trying to cross the border from Mexico illegally, they would try to help them, but 41% said they would report them. Thirty% said they would look the other way.
The poll also revealed that celebrity endorsements are irrelevant, with 89% saying they made no difference. And despite all the focus on personal technology, 70% of people said they would rather lose their smart phone than their wallet.
When asked about giving up chicken or beef, 32% of Americans said they would have the hardest time dropping beef, while 26% chose chicken. Pork and lamb were far behind, but nearly a third said they could easily give up all of them.
The telephone poll was conducted among a random sample of 1 027 adults nationwide in August and had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.