Sinking ship: What would you do?

Our scientifically-conducted national telephone survey results are reported below. This box contains a ballot for our companion online poll, which provides unscientific results.

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Sinking ship: What would you do?

Age mattered when it came to making a decision to try and swim to safety or wait for help if your found yourself on a sinking cruise ship. In a Poll Position national scientific telephone survey we asked, would you choose to stay on the sinking ship hoping help would come, or would you jump into frigid waters to try and swim to safety. The choice of 42% of our respondents was to jump in the water to try and swim to safety, 29% said they would stay on the ship hoping help would come, 29% did not offer an opinion on the question.

We asked the question following the tragic accident of the Carnival Cruise liner Costa Concordia off the Italian coast. The ship ran aground and eventually tilted over into the cold sea waters. While there are standard procedures in place to deal with cruise ship accidents, some of the the survivors said rescue efforts were chaotic and not well organized. The captain of the ship is under sharp criticism for seemingly abandoning the ship while the crisis was ongoing. There were more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board the ship when it ran into a reef off of the Italian island of Giglio. Most of them were rescued, or managed to get into life boats, but a few dozen are missing, or dead, following the disaster.

Opinions by age differed significantly. Young people were more likely to swim for it. Older Americans said they would wait for help. In the 18-29 year old age group, 63% said they would jump into the water and try to swim to safety, 15% would wait for help, 22% had no opinion. Among Americans 65 ad over, 45% would stay on the sinking ship hoping for help, 24% said they would jump in the water to try and swim to safety, 31% did not offer an opinion.

By a narrow margin more men than women said they would jump into the cold waters to try and swim to safety. Among men, 43% said they leap into the water and swim for it, 29% would stay on the ship and hope for help, 28% offered no opinion. Women offered close views with 41% saying they would jump into the frigid water to try and swim to safety, 30% said they would stay on the sinking ship hoping for help, 30% did not have an opinion.

Poll Position’s scientific telephone survey of 1,145 registered voters nationwide was conducted January 17, 2012 and has a margin of error of ±3%. Poll results are weighted to be a representative sampling of all American adults.

What do you think?  Vote in our online companion poll and comment below.

The online companion poll in which you can vote provides unscientific results, meaning it’s a tally of participating Poll Position users, not a nationally representative sampling.

Poll Position is committed to transparency and upholding the highest professional standards in its polling, explaining why we provide you with the crosstabs of our scientific polls. Crosstabs provide a breakdown of survey participants by age, race, gender, and political affiliation. Here are the crosstabs for this poll: Poll Position Crosstabs-Sinking ship choices

You can learn more about our polling methodology here.

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