DURHAM, N.H., Sept. 6 (UPI) -- A veteran New Hampshire political pollster says a poll he did 18 months ago but not released until Friday [Sept 6] has found some unusual things about his state's residents.
R. Kelly Myers of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center says 14 percent believe they've seen a ghost, 7 percent report seeing angels, and 9 percent reported seeing a UFO.
Myers' data shows Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to have seen a UFO. Specifically, 13 percent of Democrats report a UFO sighting, compared to only 6 percent of Republicans.
Republicans were more interested in angels, Myers polling data discloses. Nine percent of Republicans report seeing an angel, compared to only 1 percent of Democrats.
Myers cautions, "These could be spurious relationships," since more Republicans are churchgoers with strong religious views. "It's not necessarily a function of their party affiliation."
Nearly half of those surveyed are "either unsure or actually believe in astrology," he said. And 46 percent "admit they occasionally read their horoscopes," he says, "while 6 percent say outright they believe in it."
He says the results surprised him.
Myers said the survey of 503 adults is a year and a half old and is now under serious examination and updating. He said the information has never been released. The margin of error is plus or minus 4,4 percent, he said.
A seasoned political pollster, Myers said the data is valid for the New England region.
Especially perplexing to him, he said, is that "Only 27 percent of those asked in the state tell us they don't believe in angels."
Among those examining the results is University of New Hampshire sociologist James Tucker, who said he's surprised. "You usually think of New Hampshire as conservative, traditional and pretty conventional. I mean this is really something you'd expect to find in California -- not in old-fashioned, conservative Pat Buchanan New Hampshire," said Tucker.
Also curious, said Tucker, is the relationship [between] such oddball sentiments and acknowledged political leanings.
He said the survey shows liberals are much more into astrology than are conservatives. He says 60 percent of liberals regularly read their horoscopes, compared to 38 percent of conservatives.
Sociologist Tucker thinks there are some definite relationships. "My theory is it's all related. I've found that people who visit astrologers tend to believe in psychics, UFOs, spirits and angels. Angels are also sometimes related to traditional religions, but increasingly they are becoming secularized."
Ironically, one famed claimant to UFO sightings in the 1960s, Betty Hill, 77, of Portsmouth, a self-described victim of one of the most widely publicized early accounts of alien abduction, says Tucker is wrong.
"Astrology has to do with the New Age," she grumbles. "It has nothing to do with UFOs. I cannot speak for people who see ghosts or angels, but as far as people who see UFOs, this is a worldwide thing."
Tucker says Myers' data is significant as he looks at an increasing popular interest in "supernatural healing."
"I'm interested in why all this is so popular in modern America, because the world is supposed to be becoming more rational and secular. Maybe there's a backlash to that. Even in academia, there's a growing anti-science movement," he said.
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