Americans are most afraid of this — hint: it’s not Obamacare or terrorism

These days, Dorothy’s classic phrase from “The Wizard of Oz” would go something like this: “Politicians and pollution and World War III, oh my!”

Nearly three in four Americans (74%) are afraid of corrupt government officials, according to the fourth annual “Survey of American Fears” from Orange, Calif.’s Chapman University released Wednesday. That’s a relatively significant increase from a year ago, when 61% of people in the U.S. ranked this among their top fears. Overall, what strikes fear in Americans’ hearts has changed considerably over the past year, indicating how the country’s political climate is seeping deep into Americans’ psyches.

“The 2017 list of fears clearly reflects political unrest and uncertainty in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president,” the report said. This year, fears about another world war (48% of respondents) and North Korea using weapons (over 47%) landed in the top 10, while concerns related to terrorism, personal finance and a widespread financial crisis dropped down the list.

The survey polled 1,200 people in late June and early July — the percentages represent the share of people who said they were either “very afraid” or “afraid” of the 80 different fears the researchers identified.

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That timeline could explain why concerns related to the environment dominated the top 10 — the survey coincided with the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement and followed the crisis in Flint, Mich., and other communities nationwide involving lead pollution in drinking water. Some 53% of Americans said they were scared of pollution in oceans, rivers and lakes, while just over 50% were afraid of polluted drinking water and 48% feared global warming and climate change.

“Environmental issues never cracked the top 10 fears in our previous surveys,” the researchers wrote.

See: 11 ways to build a Paris climate change accord — in your own community

Additionally, people indicated more concern regarding Trumpcare this year than Obamacare. This year, Trumpcare and the American Health Care Act (to repeal part of Obamacare) ranked as the second most popular fear, among 55% of people.

The Affordable Care Act, which last year was the 10th most common fear, ranked No. 29 with only 34% of people listing it as a fear, putting it behind concerns such as the extinction of plant and animal species and oil spills. However, more than 48% of people were frightened by high medical bills, putting it at No. 6 on the list.

As for people’s least common fears, animals ranked last with only 3.7% of people saying they were scared of them, followed by ghosts and zombies.

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