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New study finds that Americans are most afraid of new mass shootings in 2016

San Francisco, CA, February 22 - In a year set to bring great change, AYTM set out to unearth what the American public are concerned about and looking forward to in 2016. The market research agency polled a nationally representative sample of 1,000 respondents asking them about potential global, national and personal threats and opportunities to discover what the US is concerned about this year. Insight consultants AYTM wanted to find out what the general public is worried about.


  • 51% of all respondents feared another mass shooting in the US more than any other potential national threat. In fact this was the highest indexing of all potential threats whether global, national or personal.
  • Donald Trump being elected president followed as the next most terrifying national event, with 45% of those questioned stating they were either very or extremely afraid of that election outcome.
  • Fear of a Trump presidency was slightly ahead of "Islamic extremists will strike the US in a massive attack" at 44% and another huge financial crisis, also at 44%.
  • In the original survey only 24% of respondents were afraid of the effect of potential deadly viruses in 2016. Shortly after the survey finished the first case of the Zika virus in the US was reported in Texas. To ensure the study was comprehensive AYTM run a second follow up survey that specified Zika as the deadly virus in question to gauge the potentially new fears the Zika virus may be creating in America. The study found only a 2.8% increase in the number of respondents that were afraid of Zika, with a little over a quarter of Americans afraid of the virus.

Nation first?

Overall national events generally indexed higher than both global and personal fears for all respondents.  However, almost half of respondents (47%) were afraid of the threat of a terrorist attack on any developed nation, while the continued rise of Islamic State has 44% of Americans afraid. On both these counts the study found that younger respondents were less afraid than their elder peers. The younger generation were however considerably more afraid of countries such as Russia and North Korea gaining power. 40% of those aged 25 and younger saying they were afraid of this, compared to only 25% of those aged 45 and older.

The American Concerns study from AYTM is a comprehensive look at what the United States are afraid of and optimistic in 2016. Only a few of the data points are detailed on this release, but you can see the whole reporting, including visualizations here: https://aytm.com/surveys/382866/stat/23ece4c6506b5445113ab297d70a4b80

About the study 

For this survey, AYTM interviewed 1,000 respondents from their online panel in January 2016. The sample was balanced to be representative of the U.S. population by age, gender, and race/ethnicity.

About AYTM

AYTM (Ask Your Target Market) is a technology driven market research agency founded in 2008 by software developer David Handel and designer and user experience expert Lev Mazin. AYTM provides all sizes and types of company access to professional quality market research through a cutting-edge, fully integrated survey and data visualization platform. Operating in 24 countries and with a staff of 18, AYTM now provides to a panel of 25,000,000 respondents worldwide and a flexible on-demand consultation services for complex projects.


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