Birthers, Truthers And Other Conspiracy Theorists Have Company [AUDIO]
Admit it. Even if you don't believe any of them are really true, you like a good conspiracy theory don't you?
If you think people who buy into conspiracy theories are crackpots, then there are a lot of crackpots in America.
Today's Fairleigh Dickinson University-Public Mind poll asks people nationwide about four well-known and often-debated conspiracy theories. The results might surprise you.
How Many Believe in Conspiracy Theories?
63% of registered voters in the U.S. buy into at least one political conspiracy theory. The nationwide survey asked Americans to evaluate four different political conspiracy theories: 56% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans say that at least one is likely true.
- This includes 36% who think that President Barack Obama is hiding information about his background and early life,
- 25% who think that the President George W. Bush knew about 9/11 in advance,
- 20% who think the 2012 Presidential election was stolen and
- 23% think the 2004 presidential election was stolen.
The most popular of these conspiracy theories is the belief that President Obama is hiding important information about his background and early life, which would include what's often referred to "birtherism." 36% of Americans think this is probably true, including 64% of Republicans and 14% of Democrats.
Where There's Smoke, There's Fire?
Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and an analyst for the poll says, "This conspiracy theory is much more widely believed mostly because it's been discussed so often. People tend to believe that where there's smoke, there's fire so the more smoke they see, the more likely they are to believe that something is going on."
25% think it's probably true that Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks before they happened.
"It's easy to discount conspiracy theories about 9/11," says Cassino, "but this isn't some fringe belief. Trutherism is alive and well in America, and is only going to get stronger as memories of the actual event fade."
23% of those interviewed say Bush's supporters committed significant voter fraud to win him the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio. 20% of Americans think that President Obama's supporters committed significant voter fraud in the 2012 elections.
Cassino explains, "These beliefs in election fraud pop up after every election. Americans tend to be politically isolated, and some can't fathom that there are people who actually voted for the other guy, so the only way he could have won is through cheating."
The poll of 814 registered voters was conducted nationally by telephone with both land line and cell phones from December 10 through December 16, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points.