I attach this PDF chart, thanks to Todd Washburn at Harvard, from Hadley Cantril, The Human Dimension: Experiences in Policy Research (1967, p. 48). It is based on Cantril’s polling for President Franklin D. Roosevelt during WWII. (Apologies that PDF runs vertical rather than horizontal) Note: The methodology may not quite be up to 21st century standards, but results are amazing and powerful nonetheless.
My colleague, Robert Putnam, has noted that as late as 1945 (after years of the draft; gas rubber, and food rationing; Victory gardens; Bond drives; Civilian Defense Corps; battle casualties; wage and price controls; etc.) that all required untold sacrifice on the part of the Americans, 40% still thought “the Government hasn’t asked people to make enough sacrifices,” down from 65% of Americans in late 1942.
It shows an incredible ability of Americans to rally behind calls to sacrifice for the good of the country and the world. And it makes one long for American leadership that effectively could have called for such sacrifice immediately in the wake of 9-11 or now in asking for energy consumption to forestall the inevitable global warming if we don’t take concerted action.
[If you want to learn more about the sacrifice of Americans during WWII, read Bowling Alone (By Robert D. Putnam), pp. 268-272.]