A CBS News poll posed the following question to a random sample of 1167 adults nationwide :
If time travel existed , was readily available , and you were guaranteed to return to the present , would you prefer to travel to the past or the future ?
Before I give you the results of the poll , take a moment to think about the question and what your answer would be .
Then try to guess what the majority of people might opt for.
The actual results of the poll are as follows and they are surprising.
All ages <30 30-44 45-64 65+
Past 61% 71% 62% 59% 50%
Future 34 29 34 35 39
If the numbers don’t add up it is because they have been rounded off and because some people were undecided.
I had expected a) that more people would want to go to the future and b) that older respondents would be more inclined to go back in time . As can be seen from the poll results , I was wrong on both counts. People across the board preferred the past to the future but the numbers declined steadily as the age of the respondents increased. The older the respondents , the more likely they were to want to go to the future.
The first part ( preferring the past to the future) is understandable and is probably a reflection of the current economic situation.People are more pessimistic about the future and the past beckons as a time when things were better and life was easier. However I just can’t understand how it is that the older respondents were more hopeful about the future. I would have thought that people get more conservative , less adventurous, as they age . The poll results indicate the exact opposite and the percentage of people looking to the future increases steadily with age . I just can’t explain it . Can you ?