Public Policy Polling has released their latest polling on conspiracy theories. These type of polls are actually why I love Public Policy Polling so much. With these posts, I enjoy to tell you what a typical conspiracy theorist looks like for each of them.
36% of Americans believe that Barack Obama is trying to secretly take away everyone's guns. This is led by nearly two-thirds (62%) of Republicans who believe this. But if you take a look at Obama's gun control plan, it's hard to conclude that Obama is trying to take your guns away. But if you throw the word secretly in there, I guess, you can contort yourself into believing that Obama will do something like that. There's just an obvious mistrust of Barack Obama and the government as a whole by Republicans.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Very conservative, white Republican, aged 46 to 65. It's unclear if it would be a man or woman as men (38%) and women (35%) believe it in similar numbers.
About 25% of Americans think that Barack Obama is trying to stay in office beyond 2017. This includes about half of Republicans (44%) who also believe this. There has been talk about this since,at least, 2009. I guess if you're told by people enough that Barack Obama wants to be a king or wants a monarchy in America, you'll believe it.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Very conservative, male, non-white, Hispanic, or black, Republican, aged 65 or older.
13% of Americans believe that the U.S. government engages in false flag operations where they plan and execute various mass shootings or terrorist events and acts like the events were carried out by someone else. Republicans tend to believe this more than others (21%). This goes with an overall mistrust of the government.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Very conservative, white Republican, aged 18 to 45.
19% of Americans believe that there are secret societies that produce most of America's elite. I'm not sure why people believe this. There's not really any one group that is leading this charge.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Moderate, male, black independent or Democrat, aged 46 or older.
6% of Americans believe in organizations like the Men in Black that are designed to stop people from finding out aliens exist and live among us. That means 94% of us missed the beginning of Men in Black when it said it was based on a true story.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Somewhat liberal, Hispanic. All of the other categories are really too close to call.
12% of Americans believe that the U.S. government has assassinated counter culture entertainers who spread messages they didn't approve. Some examples included Tupac, John Lennon, and Kurt Cobain.
Too be honest, I had not thought of this. Those who consider themselves conservative, either somewhat or very, are the big drivers in this. I imagine based on the other cross-tabs that this has more to do with a mistrust of government than anything else.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Black male conservative, Republican or Independent, aged 18 to 45.
Nearly a quarter of Americans (23%) believe that the U.S. government assassinated political leaders that they did not agree with. The examples of political leaders included Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and others. The mistrust of government continues.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Very conservative, African-American Republican, aged 46 to 65.
A small majority of Americans (54%) believe that it is easy to kill someone and get away with it if you have enough money. Oddly, those who consider themselves very conservative (64%) believe this most strongly. I guess this goes with the theory that money can solve all problems. Also, there might be a mistrust of our criminal justice system. 66% of African-Americans believe this.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Very conservative, black Republican, aged 46-65.
Nearly a third (32%) of Americans believe that sports are rigged either for ratings or publicity. I think those who consider themselves to be very conservative just don't trust anyone. That's what I've concluded.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Very conservative, black Independent/Other political party, aged 18-45.
An odd conspiracy theory: 17% of Americans believe that bankers are trying to move all banking electronically and then the bankers will cut off the power grid so nobody has access to banking. I just want to say that at a Wells Fargo in Washington, DC, they have moved completely electronic. There are not actual bank tellers. You just deposit money into a modified ATM. Note: I almost wrote ATM machine
Typical conspiracy theorist: Very conservative, black Republican, aged 46 or older
Only 3% of people believe the general premise of the X-Files, that the government has allowed aliens to infiltrate our society in exchange for technological help such as electricity and the microwave. Those 3% were the only ones to notice that the X-Files was actually a documentary.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Hispanic Republican aged 65 or older
9% of Americans believe that the U.S. government has a secret fleet of black helicopters that will be used in an eventual United Nations takeover of the United States. That's probably why Obama is trying to take away our guns.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Female Hispanic Republican aged 46-65
26% of Americans believe that Muslims are covertly implementing Shari'a law in our courts. This reads right off of those chain e-mails and conversations you have with a crazed drunk uncle at a family dinner. 66% of those who consider themselves very conservative believe this. 42% of Republicans believe this. So yea. Just so you know.
Typical conspiracy theorist: Very conservative male, white Republican aged 65 or older.