Trump supporters more likely to believe conspiracy theories, NJ poll finds
A new Fairleigh Dickinson University/Public Mind Poll finds support for popular conspiracy theories is strongest among Donald Trump supporters and independent voters.
FDU political scientist Dan Cassino says they polled voters about six conspiracies, including whether Hillary Clinton knew beforehand about the Benghazi attacks or whether President Obama hid facts about his birth, "we find that Trump supporters, on average, endorsed 1.4 of those six as being definitely true. We found Trump supporters were far more likely to endorse any number of conspiracy theories."
He says Republicans historically were more likely to buy a conspiracy theory. But now, independent voters in their poll were most likely to believe in ideas that include global warming is a scientific conspiracy.
Years before he ran for president, Trump made headlines by peddling the idea that Obama wasn't being honest about his birthplace. While Trump no longer discusses Obama's birth certificate, so-called "birthers" remain among his supporters, the poll finds.
A majority of Trump supporters say it is either definitely true or probably true that President Obama is hiding important information about his birth, "and that far outpaces his opponents," Cassino says.
Cassino says that not all of the conspiracies are partisan.
"For instance, we asked people if the Sandy Hook (Connecticut) shootings from 2012 were staged, a false event, and we found that only about 8 percent of Americans think that that is true."
Cassino says there is one thing that made him feel good about what is going on, and that is the belief that childhood vaccines cause autism, down significantly from when they last asked the question in 2013.
"We are down to less than 10 percent of the American public saying that it has been proven that childhood vaccines cause autism. That was up in the 20s a few years ago."