Poll: Nearly 70% of Americans Worry About Nuclear War

Poll: Nearly 70% of Americans Worry About Nuclear War A leftover fallout shelter sign A leftover fallout shelter sign, one of hundreds in New York, is displayed on a building in New York City on August 11, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 06 April 2022 09:06 AM

Nearly 70% of Americans fear that Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine will lead to nuclear war, a new survey found.

Results from an American Psychological Association (APA)/The Harris Poll survey showed that 80% of U.S. adults said the Russia-Ukraine war, and potential retaliation from Russia were significant sources of stress.

A total of 69% said they feared the Russia-Ukraine conflict would lead to nuclear war and World War III.

CNBC reported that researchers estimated there were approximately 12,700 nuclear weapons spread between nine countries, though the U.S. and Russia hold the majority.

A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that close to half of Americans said they were very concerned that Russia would directly target the U.S. with nuclear weapons, and an additional 3 in 10 were somewhat concerned.

The APA/Harris poll found that U.S. adults appeared to be emotionally overwhelmed and showing signs of fatigue. The vast majority (87%) agreed it felt like there had been a constant stream of crises during the past two years, and 73% said they were overwhelmed by the number of crises facing the world.

The APA/Harris survey found that top sources of stress were the rise in prices of everyday items (e.g., gas prices, energy bills, grocery costs, etc.) due to inflation (87%), followed by supply-chain issues (81%) and global uncertainty (81%).

APA also said the nation continues to struggle with the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. Close to two-thirds (63%) of adults said their life had been changed forever by the pandemic.

To better understand the impact of the past two years on individual stress, the American Psychological Association partnered with The Harris Poll to conduct a survey between Feb. 7-14. The survey was supplemented by a late-breaking poll, March 1-3, following Russia's invasion.