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October 02, 2013


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The great John Rogers once postulated what's known as the "Crazification Factor."



The whole thing is great, but the reason I bring it up is that I see you have some results right at that level here (give or take on a few):

> 26% of Americans think that Muslims are covertly implementing Sharia Law

> Nearly one in three Republicans (27%) believe the electronic currency theory


Right-wing authoritarians have been shown particularly gullible about conspiracies, usurpations, and plots. Just check the old Authoritarian Personality.


Very interesting.

I wonder how much the numbers would change with a change of the party controlling the white house.

(I'm pretty liberal, so I'd like to _believe_ liberals wouldn't be so bad when they're out of power, but obviously I can't know.)

Randy Oyer

This proves that the Republicans are more easily brainwashed then Democrats!


I'm sorry, I'm first in line to bash conspiracy theorists, but in what way was the Gulf of Tonkin not a "false flag" operation? Or FDR tailing U-boats to provoke them into killing Americans to gin up WW2 support, before Pearl Harbor struck and saved him the trouble? And don't get me started on the "woulda-false-flag" of Saddam's wmds.

False flags are real, are in most consensus history books, and are a deeply rooted component of American history. I don't think they belong in this poll...

Han Solo

Yet liberals are the ones who think the Koch brothers secretly run the world.


How do you suppose the crosstabs would look if the question were "Do you believe that the House GOP is secretly planning to take your abortion rights away?" I'm surprised 14% of Dems answered yes to the question as it was stated. This hardly speaks to a belief in a conspiracy theory. It speaks to an awareness of a party's agenda.

The Skull And Bones Society is not a fiction of conspiracy theorists. It's an actual student club at Yale which fashions itself as a "secret society" and Bush, Bush Sr. and Prescott Bush were all members. This inspired paranoid blather among bloggers and pundits of which party between the years 2000 and 2008, do you suppose?

The 11% of Dems who believe Obama is secretly planning to extend his reign past his second term must be extraordinarily big fans who are extraordinarily naive as to how that sounds. The 44% of 'Pubs who believe it must only be a fraction of the percentage of Dems who believed that Bush was secretly planning to extend his reign past his second term; Specifically, it was argued that Bush was planning "another" fake terrorist attack to serve as pretext for the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the 2008 election, per liberal pundits like Naomi Klein.

I've noticed that this paranoid claim was promoted by liberals who have since become interested in framing conservatives as being particularly prone to conspiracy theories. It's like that, if you look back to the Bush era. Polling taken as late as 2009 showed that fully 51% - most - Democrats are Truthers who believe that Bush either orchestrated or allowed the 911 attacks to serve as a pretext for war. When Obama appointed a Truther to a cabinet position, it was a statistically inevitable accident. Democrats believed that the tragic deaths of Mel Carnahan and Sen. Paul Wellstone were secret, Bush-ordered assassinations. The guest roster of the Alex Jones radio show looked like an index of B-list progressive celebs until 2009. Then Dems lost interest until 2010 when it was decided that Jones, who had moved on from his BDS to ODS, would better serve as a strawman for Romney voters.

How is it that Democrats became cured of their psychosis? How did the Republicans who once jeered about the "loony left" become inflicted? I think the best explanation is that the significant bulk of Dems endorsing calumnious conspiracy theories about a Republican president or Republicans endorsing calumnious conspiracy theories about a Democrat president are only endorsing whatever ugly thing that passes through their inbox. In other words, polling like this doesn't measure what partisans actually believe but what they want the other third of undecideds to believe about their opponents.

In our hyper-polarized yet utterly meaningless cable-web political media, partisans want us to believe their opponents are actual cat-stroking supervilains operating from hollowed-out-mountain fortresses.


Changing the subject and saying "Democrats do it, too!" Is that all you've got?


I think there's an imbalance in the choice of conspiracies. They should ask questions like, "Do you believe Big Pharma is suppressing the truth about vaccines?" I'm sure the left wouldn't appear so good if the types of conspiracies polled were those disproportionately favored by the left. Also, I think we cannot underestimate the value of priming; by leading with questions about MIB, asking if Obama has an unstated desire to stay in office a third term seems like a sane possibilty.

James Parker

How do you suppose the crosstabs would look if the question were "Do you believe that the House GOP is secretly planning to take your abortion rights away?"

Banning all abortion was part of the GOP's 2012 platform. I do agree with your general point here. Thinking a politician is lying about one of his political positions isn't a conspiracy theory.


Wait, Tonkin and US anti-sub efforts were not "false flags." Tonkin was a confused episode possibly involving ACCIDENTAL friendly fire oversold by that administration to justify other actions, and Roosevelt was not entirely forthcoming about how aggressive he was being in supporting the British, but neither involved intentional attacks on US personnel BY US personnel.

While not endorsing either, there is a difference between a government misusing events for their favor and claiming that government actually caused them. I don't entirely understand why conspirists think the US government is the sole cause of trouble in the entire world.


"Changing the subject and saying "Democrats do it, too!" Is that all you've got?"

If the premise is "Only Republicans do it" then, yes, "Democrats do it too" is all that is needed to rebut the premise completely.

"Banning all abortion was part of the GOP's 2012 platform."

Likewise, there is a party that is proudly invested in restricting the availability of firearms and a party that is proudly invested in expanding the availability of firearms. The attempt to frame gun owners' anxieties about the former party's restrictionist agenda as a paranoid conspiracy theory while simultaneously portraying the NRA as a Bilderbergian puppeteer was a self-defeating rhetorical tactic. It reeked of disdain and insincerity.

beverly burk

One has to look at which party is ethical and which isn't.


operation northwoods was a false flag operation that got nixed, so at the very least the idea of false flag operations have been and probably still are circulating within the minds of our leaders.


Why is it so fun to watch crazy people explain how they are sane, and the rest of us are actually the crazy ones??


Tonkin was not accidental. They literally had the USS Maddox cruising up and down the coastline shelling the Viet shore until they sent torpedo boats to return fire.

And Jeffrey is right about northwoods, you can print that one off the net and read it now if you like. False flags are not just conspiracy theories.

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