16 May 2014

Republican Fondness for Conspiracy Theories

The folks at Public Policy Polling asked Americans about conspiracy theories. As it turns out we like them. And curiously, folks who voted for Romney are more likely to believe in a good conspiracy theory than are the folks who voted for Obama.

Here's a table showing the ratio of Romney to Obama supporters who believe in a particular conspiracy.

Voted For
        Conspiracy     Obama    Romney        Ratio
Believe Global Warming a Hoax? 12 61 5.1
Believe Obama is Anti-Christ 5 22 4.4
Believe in lizard people 2 5 2.5
Believe in New World Order 16 38 2.4
Believe Sadam was involved in 9/11 19 36 1.9
Believe UFO Crashed at Roswell? 16 27 1.7
Believe govt spreads chemicals thru plane exhaust 3 5 1.7
Believe pharma and med invent new diseases to make $ 11 17 1.5
Believe govt controls minds thru TV 12 18 1.5
Believe in Bigfoot 12 15 1.3
Believe McCartney died and was replaced 4 5 1.3
Believe Vaccines Cause Autism 19 22 1.2
Believe in JFK conspiracy 47 54 1.1
Believe aliens exist 28 28 1.0
Believe govt adds fluoride for sinister reasons 8 8 1.0
Believe Moon Landing was Fake 6 5 0.8
Believe govt allowed 9/11 to happen 13 8 0.6
Believe CIA spread crack in inner cities 17 10 0.6
Believe Bush misled on WMDs in Iraq 69 18 0.3

Voters come together on a belief in aliens and the government adding fluoride for sinister reasons.

They are sharply divided over whether global warming is a hoax and whether Bush misled on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (Note that the question is not whether the science on global warming is dubious or incomplete: 61% of Romney supporters actually think global warming is a hoax that scientists are perpetuating at the expense of innocent oil companies, politicians, and talk radio personalities.) That seems predictable given politics.

It's less clear why Romney supporters would be about twice as likely to believe that a UFO crashed at Roswell or in lizard people.

The fact that Republicans are more likely to cozy up to a good conspiracy doesn't prove that the GOP platform is carefully crafted to appeal to the interests of average Americans while helping only a select few. Then again, if you could prove such a claim it wouldn't be much of a conspiracy, would it?


Anonymous said...

One thing that's hard to judge is whether people really believe what they're telling the pollsters, or whether they feel obliged to toe the company line.

Ron Davison said...

Thomas - I've wondered that same thing. But even so, wouldn't that be a constant across parties and topics? For whatever reason, people are more likely to believe in aliens than fluoride being used for sinister reasons.