60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll Time Travel July 2-7, 2015



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60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll

Time Travel

July 2-7, 2015


  • Which one of the following is more important to live a happy and successful life? Having a firm grasp on the lessons of the past, or having a clear vision of the possibilities of the future?


Look to the future, not to the past.
It’s been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but most Americans prefer to take a more optimistic view about what is important for a happy and successful life. When it comes to choosing between having a firm grasp of the lessons of the past or having a clear vision of the possibilities of the future, 53% of Americans think it’s more important to focus on future possibilities. 34% instead think it’s more important to have a firm grasp on the past.
While Americans of all political and ideological persuasions tend to think future possibilities are more important, Democrats (59%) and liberals (59%) are more likely to think so than Republicans (45%) and conservatives (48%).
What’s More Important for a Happy and Successful Life?

Total Reps Dems Ind Lib Mod Cons

Possibilities of the future 53% 45% 59% 52% 59% 54% 48%

Lessons of the past 34 40 29 35 28 32 41




  • Which one of the following behaviors is most likely to disappear a thousand years from now? 1. Shaking hands to greet someone, 2. Saying “let’s have lunch” and not meaning it, 3. The sign of the cross, 4. The double-cheeked air kiss, 5. Thank you notes, or 6. Grocery shopping with a basket?


What’s most likely to disappear in a thousand years? Shopping baskets and thank you notes.
What common behaviors of today are likely to have become extinct in a thousand years? When asked to choose from a list of six, Americans think grocery shopping in person with a basket is the top choice of behaviors that will disappear (picked by 25% of Americans), followed by thank you notes (20%) and shaking hands when greeting someone (17%). Further down on the list are the double-cheeked air kiss (13%), and making the sign of the cross (12%). One thing few Americans think is most likely to disappear is making lunch plans you don’t intend to follow up on. Just 5% of Americans think saying “let’s have lunch” and not meaning it will disappear in a thousand years from now.
Which Behavior is Most Likely to Disappear in 1000 Years?

Grocery shopping with a basket 25%

Thank you notes 20

Shaking hands to greet someone 17

The double-cheeked air kiss 13

The sign of the cross 12

Saying “let’s have lunch” 5



  • Which one of the following milestones do you think is most likely to happen first?


Americans think there will be a cure for cancer before Seinfeld re-runs stop airing.
It turns out Americans think a cure for cancer will be discovered before either Seinfeld re-runs go off the air or soccer becomes more popular than football in the United States. When asked what milestone was most likely to happen first from a list of five, 41% pick a cure for cancer, far ahead of the 24% who thought Seinfeld episodes would finally stop appearing in syndication. And despite changing U.S. demographics and the popularity of soccer worldwide, more Americans also think there will be cure for cancer before soccer overtakes football in popularity in the United States (21%).
Much farther down on the list are peace on earth (7%) and the ability to travel through time (6%).
What’s Most Likely to Happen First?

A cure for cancer 41%

Seinfeld re-runs going off the air 24

Soccer becoming more popular than football in the U.S. 21

Peace on earth 7

Time travel 6




  • If you were about to be transported into the past or future but didn’t know when or where, what would you most like to bring with you? A gun, A Bible, Antibiotics, Condoms, or Christopher Lloyd.


If sent to a different time, most Christians would bring a Bible; non-Christians would bring antibiotics.
What would you bring if you were transported through time, but didn’t know where you’d end up? 41% would bring a Bible, the most popular choice from a list of five possible items, while 31% would bring antibiotics, and 21% would bring a gun. Just 3% would pack condoms, while another 3% would take their chances with Christopher Lloyd.
While Christians overwhelmingly choose the Bible (52%), non-Christians are more interested in bringing either antibiotics (42%) or a gun (29%).
What Would You Bring With You if You Were Transported Through Time?

Total Christians Non-Christians

A Bible 41% 52% 14%

Antibiotics 31 26 42

A gun 21 17 29

Condoms 3 2 6

Christopher Lloyd 3 2 8


  • If you learned that Stephen Hawking said time travel is possible, what would your reaction be? “It must be true”, “What does he know?”, or “Who’s Stephen Hawking?”


Americans tend to think Stephen Hawking knows what he’s talking about when it comes to time travel - if they know who he is.
What if a world famous physicist said time travel was possible? Would Americans then think it was true? It turns out 36% would accept such a proclamation from renowned scientist Stephen Hawking at face value, while another 28% pick the more skeptical response of “what does he know?” Another 30% don’t know who Stephen Hawking is.
If Stephen Hawking Said Time Travel Was Possible…

It must be true 36%

What does he know? 28

Who’s Stephen Hawking? 30




  • Have you ever wished you could go back in time and change your vote for a president?


Most Americans don’t second guess their vote for president.
Regardless of whether or not most Americans stand by their president, most do stand by their presidential vote. 75% of Americans say they have never wished they could go back in time and change a previous vote for president, while 23% say they have.
There is little difference among partisans on this matter. Large majorities of Republicans (76%), Democrats (78%), and independents (72%) all say they have never wished they could go back in time and change their vote for a president.
Have You Ever Wanted to Go Back and Change Your Vote for President?

Total Reps Dems Inds

Yes 23% 23% 20% 25%

No 75 76 78 72




  • If you were to be reborn several generations from now and had to pick one of the following five cities to be born in, which one would you choose?


Americans pick Vancouver as the top city of the future.
When Americans are asked to pick a city they’d most like to be born in generations from now from a list of five, the top choice was Vancouver – picked by 39% of Americans. The second choice was Zurich, Switzerland, picked by 25% of Americans, ahead of the only locale on the list located in the United States: Beverly Hills (19%). Few Americans would take a chance on rapidly developing cities in the third world, the economic powerhouse Singapore (5%) or “India’s Silicon Valley”, Bangalore (3%).
Which City Would You Want to be Reborn in Generations from Now?

Vancouver 39%

Zurich 25

Beverly Hills 19

Singapore 5

Bangalore 3



  • If you were given twenty four hours to try to stop one of the following historic tragedies, which one of the following would you most want to go back in time and try to prevent?


9/11 is the tragedy most Americans would like to go back and prevent.
If they were given twenty-four hours to go back in time to stop one of four historical tragedies, most Americans would try to stop the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. 53% would try to stop the 9/11 attacks, while 21% would attempt to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and another 17% would try to stop the bombing of Pearl Harbor that launched the United States into World War II. Just 6% would brave being on the deck of the Titanic to try to keep it from hitting the iceberg in 1912.
Which Historic Tragedy Would You Like to Go Back in Time to Prevent?

Total 18-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+

The 9/11 Attacks 53% 59% 59% 57% 51% 38%

The assassination of JFK 21 22 23 19 17 24

The bombing of Pearl Harbor 17 12 12 15 25 25

The Sinking of the Titanic 6 6 5 4 6 7




  • Which one of the following historic discoveries do you most wish you could go back in time and witness firsthand?


More Americans would like to go back and take a giant leap for mankind on the moon than discover the New World with Columbus.
When it comes to what historical discoveries Americans would like to go back and witness firsthand, the 1969 Moon Landing tops the list. 35% of Americans would like to witness the Moon Landing, more than the second choice option, the “discovery” of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492 (29%). Fewer would most like to witness two important archaeological discoveries – finding the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946, or opening King Tut’s tomb in 1922. Just 3% pick a culinary discovery lost to the mists of prehistory – the eating of the first oyster.
Despite Columbus’ controversial legacy - which includes the inauguration of colonialism, the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade, and the appearance of deadly diseases that wiped out much of the indigenous population of the Caribbean – witnessing Columbus set foot in the Western Hemisphere is the top choice among Hispanic Americans, picked by 39%.

Which Would You Most Like to Go Back and Witness Firsthand?

Total Hispanics

Landing on the Moon 35% 28%

Columbus reaching the New World 29 39

Finding the Dead Sea Scrolls 19 16

Opening King Tut’s tomb 11 11

Eating the first oyster 3 3


  • Which one of the following rock performances do you most wish you could go back in time and witness firsthand?


Younger Americans would go back to see Jimi Hendrix; older Americans pick the Beatles.
When asked which one of five historic concerts Americans would most like to go back in time and witness firsthand, Americans are torn between Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles. While 32% would like to go back in time and witness the Fab Four at Rock n Roll’s first stadium concert at Shea Stadium in 1965, 32% would choose to watch Jimi Hendrix close out the 1969 Woodstock Festival with his electric guitar version of the Star Spangled Banner. Another 13% would brave getting stabbed by the Hell’s Angels to see the Rolling Stones at Altamont, and 11% would pick the much calmer acoustic performance of Nirvana at MTV Unplugged in 1993. Just 2% would instead prefer to see the Sex Pistols attempt to offend the Royal Family on the Thames River in 1977.
There are generational differences. Americans 55 and over would most like to see the Beatles at Shea (though 20% of those 65 and older volunteer “none of the above”), while Americans between 18 and 54 are most interested in seeing Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. And for Americans between 18 and 34, Nirvana unplugged (22%) holds almost as much appeal as the Beatles (25%).
Which Rock Concert Would You Most Like to Go Back and See?

Total 18-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+

The Beatles at Shea Stadium, 1965 32% 25% 25% 31% 43% 41%

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, 1969 32 33 35 35 35 19

The Rolling Stones at Altamont, 1969 13 13 15 15 12 11

Nirvana at MTV Unplugged, 1993 11 22 15 5 3 2

The Sex Pistols on the Thames, 1977 2 2 5 * * 1

None of these (vol.) 8 4 4 9 5 20




  • If you had to pick, which one of the following people from the past do you think is most likely to have been a person visiting from the future?


Did Jesus come from the future?
Is it possible that famous people from the past were really travelers from the future? When asked to pick who is most likely to have visited from the future from a list of five potential candidates, Jesus of Nazareth tops the list at 46%, followed by Albert Einstein at 24% and Leonardo da Vinci at 22%. Just 3% pick surrealist painter Salvador Dali, and another 3% pick the sometimes otherworldly appearing pianist, Liberace.
Christians overwhelmingly choose Jesus (55%), while non-Christians are torn between da Vinci (36%) and Einstein (34%).
Who Was Most Likely a Time Traveler From the Future?

Total Christians Non-Christians

Jesus of Nazareth 46% 55% 22%

Albert Einstein 24 21 34

Leonardo da Vinci 22 16 36

Salvador Dali 3 3 4

Liberace 3 2 3

____________________________________________________________________________

This poll was conducted by telephone from July 2-7, 2015 among a random sample of 1,020 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3 percentage points. The error for other subgroups may be higher. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Poll.

60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll

Time Travel

July 2-7, 2015

VF-01. Which one of the following is more important to live a happy and successful life? Having a firm grasp on the lessons of the past, or Having a clear vision of the possibilities of the future?


**************** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *******************

***** Party ID ***** *Political Philosophy*

Total Reps Dems Inds Lib Mod Con

% % % % % % %

Lessons of the past 34 40 29 35 28 32 41

Possibilities of the future 53 45 59 52 59 54 48

Both equally 11 13 10 10 11 13 9

Don’t know/no answer 2 2 2 3 2 1 3


VF-02. Which one of the following behaviors is most likely to disappear a thousand years from now?
Total Men Women

% % %


Grocery shopping with a basket 25 23 27

Thank you notes 20 15 25

Shaking hands to greet someone 17 18 17

The double-cheeked air kiss 13 17 9

The sign of the cross 12 13 11

Saying “let’s have lunch” and not meaning it 5 5 4

Don’t know/no answer 8 8 8
VF-03. If you were to be reborn several generations from now and had to pick one of the following five cities to be born in, which one would you choose?
Vancouver, Canada 39 41 38

Zurich, Switzerland 25 25 24

Beverly Hills 19 17 21

Singapore 5 5 5

Bangalore, India 3 3 3

Don’t know/no answer 9 9 9


VF-04. Which one of the following milestones do you think is most likely to happen first?
A cure for cancer 41 40 41

Seinfeld re-runs will go off the air 24 24 24

Soccer becoming more popular than football in the U.S. 21 20 21

Peace on earth 7 7 7

Time travel 6 6 5

Don’t know/no answer 2 2 2


VF-05. If you learned that Stephen Hawking said time travel is possible, what would your reaction be?
It must be true 36 39 33

What does he know? 28 31 24

Who’s Stephen Hawking? 30 22 36

Don’t know/no answer 7 7 6


VF-06. Have you ever wished you could go back in time and change your vote for a President?
****** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *******

***** Party ID *****

Total Reps Dems Inds

% % % %


Yes 23 23 20 25

No 75 76 78 72

Don’t know/no answer 2 1 1 3
VF-07. Which one of the following historic discoveries do you most wish you could go back in time and witness firsthand?
Total Hispanics

% %


Landing on the Moon 35 28

Columbus reaching the New World 29 39

Finding the Dead Sea Scrolls 19 16

The opening of King Tut’s Tomb 11 11

Eating the first oyster 3 3

Don’t know/no answer 4 3


VF-08. Which one of the following rock performances do you most wish you could go back in time and witness firsthand?
************** Age *************

Total 18-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+

% % % % % %

The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965 32 25 25 31 43 41

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969 32 33 35 35 35 19

The Rolling Stones at Altamont in 1969 13 13 15 15 12 11

Nirvana at MTV Unplugged in New York in 1993 11 22 15 5 3 2

The Sex Pistols on the Thames River in 1977 2 2 5 * * 1

None of these (Vol.) 8 4 4 9 5 20

Don’t know/no answer 2 1 * 4 1 5


VF-09. If you were given twenty four hours to try to stop one of the following historic tragedies, which one of the following would you most want to go back in time and try to prevent?
The September 11, 2001 terror attacks 53 59 59 57 51 38

The assassination of President Kennedy 21 22 23 19 17 24

The bombing of Pearl Harbor 17 12 12 15 25 25

The sinking of the Titanic 6 6 5 4 6 7

Don’t know/no answer 3 1 2 4 2 6
VF-10. If you were about to be transported into the past or future but didn’t know when or where, what would you most like to bring with you?
Total Christians Non-Christians

% % %


A bible 41 52 14

Antibiotics 31 26 42

A gun 21 17 29

Condoms 3 2 6

Christopher Lloyd 3 2 8

Don’t know/no answer 2 1 1

VF-11. If you had to pick, which one of the following people from the past do you think is most likely to have been a person visiting from the future?
***** TOTAL RESPONDENTS ****

Total Christians Non-Christians

% % %

Jesus of Nazareth 46 56 22



Albert Einstein 24 21 34

Leonardo da Vinci 22 16 36

Salvador Dali 3 3 4

Liberace 3 2 3



Don’t know/no answer 3 3 2

Total respondents: 1,020


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