A new national poll reveals that Americans differ along political party lines even in their endorsement of conspiracy theories, including the belief that President Obama is the Anti-Christ and the idea that global warming is a hoax.
The poll found, for instance, just 15 percent of Democrats believe a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order; compare that with 34 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Independents who believe the same.
As one might expect, the more far-out the conspiracy theory, the fewer people endorse it. Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, which conducted the research, noted, “Most Americans reject the wackier ideas out there about fake moon landings and shape-shifting lizards.”
Even so, 20 percent of Republicans believe that President Obama is the Anti-Christ, compared with 13 percent of Independents and 6 percent of Democrats who agree.
Some other highlights include:
— 58 percent of Republicans think global warming is a hoax, whereas just 24 percent of Democrats said the same. [The Reality of Global Warming: 10 Myths Busted]
— 15 percent of the respondents believe the pharmaceutical industry conspires with the medical industry to fabricate new diseases for profit, and the same number believe that secret mind-controlling technology is added to TV broadcast signals.
The difference in endorsement between self-identified Democrats and Republicans is less surprising than it may seem at first glance; many events producing conspiracy theories have important political implications that make them more or less likely to be believed depending on your worldview.
For example, the recent Sandy Hook conspiracy theories were framed by believers not as merely a tragic school shooting but instead as a hoax perpetrated or coordinated by the Obama administration (or gun control groups or other powerful, unknown organizations) to scare the public into supporting gun control legislation. Similarly, conspiracies involving the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and whether or not President Obama is a legal U.S. citizen clearly have political implications.
Other common conspiracies — such as whether a UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico (21 percent said yes), or the moon landings were faked (7 percent said yes), or that Paul McCartney died in a car crash in 1966 (5 percent said yes) — have little implications for people’s everyday lives. [The 10 Craziest Conspiracy Theories Explained]
The image of the bug-eyed, tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy believer is largely a stereotype.
( via livescience.com )