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September 10, 2015

Ghosts, aliens, scrapple: Pennsylvanians believe in unnatural forces beyond this world

Poll asks Pennsylvanians about everything from life after death to JFK conspiracy theories

Apparently, more Pennsylvanians believe in ghosts than they believe in scrapple.

While Harper Polling usually focuses on political surveys, asking folks whom they'll vote for in the next election, every once in awhile they decide to do a bit of a grab bag. Their latest "Our Commonwealth" poll asked Pennsylvanians on everything from their favorite conspiracy theory to their thoughts on life after death.

Here are a few of the most eyebrow-raising results:

Only 14 percent of Pennsylvanians say they "definitely" don't believe in ghosts, compared to 36 percent who "definitely" do. The rest are on the fence about it, saying "probably" yes or no, or admitting that they're "not sure." Perhaps they need to see the latest Insidious movie before deciding.

Relatedly, 75 percent of Pennsylvanians believe in life after death and 69 percent believe "there are other life forms in the universe."

Moving on to less heady, life-or-death matters, the poll also asked for people's opinions on scrapple, Pennsylvania's favorite square-shaped, liver-flavored meat product. A full 34 percent of Pennsylvanians enjoy eating a product that's been processed from the scraps left over on the slaughterhouse floor, leading the pollsters to comment, "While we don't have any national data to support it (because no one else cares), we'd be willing to bet that's much higher than the national average."

Another finding: most residents of the Commonwealth actually like their job. Two thirds of poll respondents said they enjoy their job, while 25 percent say "it's just a way to pay the bills." People who work outdoors are especially happy, with 81 percent reporting job satisfaction.

Finally, the survey gave respondents a list of conspiracies, ranging from "Elvis is still alive" to "the CIA created AIDS," and asked them which they believe "is most likely to be true." The most popular conspiracy by far: that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the JFK assassination.

None
(Which conspiracy theory is most plausible: that the Apollo moon landing was a fake, the U.S. government knew 9/11 was going to happen or that Princess Diana's death was no accident? Contributed Art/Harper Polling) 

Only 14 percent of respondents chose to say that none of the suggested conspiracy theories were likely true. In case you're wondering if members of certain political parties are more skeptical than others, 19 percent of Independents chose "none," compared to 13 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of Democrats.

Harper Polling conducted its poll by landline in mid-July. The poll had a sample size of 546 adults and a margin of error of +/-4.19 percent.

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