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March 27, 2015

Are Conservatives More Prone to Think Conspiratorially?

Washington Post, ask: “Are all Americans created equal when it comes to fearing collusion and conspiracies? Our recent research suggests that they are. As part of a 2012 national survey, we asked respondents about the likelihood of voter fraud as an explanation if their preferred presidential candidate did not win. Fifty percent of Republicans said it would be very or somewhat likely, compared to 44 percent of Democrats.”

I”n our survey, we also measured respondents’ underlying propensity to believe in conspiracy theories — that is, the general mindset that leads people to accept or reject conspiracy theories.”

“We combined [four conspiracy-related] questions into one summary measure. This graph shows the percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and independents that showed a strong or medium disposition towards thinking conspiratorially.”

“The upshot: near symmetry between left and right.”

  • Suralin

    Not all that surprised by this. With all the craziness percolating through the right wing in the past few years, it’s sometimes easy to forget all the conspiracy theories that went around regarding the 2000 and 2004 elections among us lefties. Plenty of paranoia to go around, all told.

    • QuickStriker

      There really isn’t a symmetry here. There was actual wrong-doing in 2000, and the 2004 conspiracies never had the sort of widespread acceptance on the left than “ACORN stole the 2008 and 2012 elections” does on the right.

    • Lumpenproletariat

      ‘Cept, in 2000, the election actually WAS decided by a partisan Supreme Court for purely partisan reasons. That’s actually a thing that happened. Not really equivocal.

      • Lorehead

        Yes, but one popular theory among Democrats was that the voting machines were rigged, and that clearly is not true.

        • dc matthews

          The electronic ballots were confusing, especially to many of the seniors, was the most common issue I heard on the left.

  • Douglass Parker

    I’m not sure how useful this is. Any organized group of individuals seeking a common goal can be said to “conspire” to reach that goal. All “conspiracies” are not equal. If I say, “Republicans and Fox News are conspiring to undermine the President”, that is at least plausible. If I say, “Jews and space aliens are conspiring to force gay marriage on us”, I am clearly insane. I’m not sure if it is scientifically possible to evaluate the “nuttiness” of conspiracy theories, but it is clearly relevant to the discussion.

  • dc matthews

    BETTER QUESTION: Do extremists on left and/or right have and Hold MOST of the paranoia and propaganda ?

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