bling! “Gold gold gold gold gold gold gold.” –Dwarf mining song, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.i

A Gallup poll found that 34 percent of Americans consider gold the best long-term investment. Real estate and stocks came in as number 2 and 3, with men preferring real estate and women preferring stocks.

Why gold? Historical reasons.

Traditionally, gold — like the U.S. dollar — has been a safe haven in times of economic and political turmoil. It is a globally accepted store of value and one of the most highly desired precious metals.

What I find amusing is that gold is just about useless. It looks pretty, but that’s about it. Funny that we should get so excited by it.

One of the reasons Gallup cites is people’s fears about the economy. If everything falls apart, at least they’ll have their gold. (Although, let’s be real: If things really did fall apart in a big way, gold won’t be nearly as useful as, say, copper, iron, and steel.)

Also: You can’t live inside a pile of gold coins. Not long, anyway.

A bit more of breakdown:

  • Men are more enthusiastic about gold than women.
  • Republicans are slightly more into it than Democrats or Independents.
  • The older you get, the more you trust gold.

Gallup warns though, “That one in three Americans see gold as the best long-term investment may indicate a bubble in the value of this precious metal.”

Check out the chart. Remember, you can only identify a bubble after it’s burst, so before you rush out to buy your ingots, think of the people who did that in 1979.

Historical gold prices

Click to enlarge, natch.