Gallup Pole Taken in 1949 Asked Americans What Advances They Thought Would Happen By 1999

When Gallup first asked Americans in 1949 whether they expected man to reach the moon in the next 50 years, only 15% said yes. Just six years later, that proportion had doubled, and by 1959, after the launch of the first satellite, more than half the country expected a moon landing within 20 years. In contrast, when asked if they thought a cure for cancer would be discovered before the end of the 20th century, 88% said yes, while only 49% thought there would be a cure for the common cold. Surprisingly, when asked if there would be a woman in the White House, a whopping 48% said yes. By comparison, only 38% said there would be a black president by 1999. When asked if there would be conclusive proof of extraterrestrial life, only 9% said that would happen. One of the things that wasn’t on the poll, but was predicted anyway was the fact that we would have personal flying automobiles. Needless to say, we’re still not quite there yet.