Good News: Most Americans Reject Conspiracy Theories! Bad News: A Big Chunk Of Americans Believe Them!
So, how should we react when apoll shows that over a third of Republicans and independents say they "believe that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order"? (When you factor in the 15% of Democrats who fear the black helicopters, the total comes down to 28% overall.) Should we worry that nearly a third of the electorate seems unhinged, or should we take comfort that the vast majority of Americans won't even notice the FEMA camps Our Glorious Leader is setting up, or should we just roll our eyes and remind ourselves that you can get about 10% of people to answer "yes" to just about any damnfool question? Since we're in a hopeful mood today, we're going to see the glass as 2/3 full of sanity. Maybe.
Public Policy Polling released a survey this week on Americans' acceptance of a number of common myths and conspiracy theories, and the sorta-good news is that only one conspiracy theory appears to be accepted by an overall majority: 51% of Americans think that "a larger conspiracy was at work in the JFK assassination," while only 25% believe that Oswald acted alone (Yr Doktor Zoom is in that minority; when I mentioned to a BFF from high school days that I thought Gerald Posner's book was pretty convincing, she said, "Wow. Up until now I'd always thought you were pretty smart.")
There are other topics with a wider partisan divide. For instance, 58% of Republicans think global warming is a hoax, while 77% of Democrats think it's real -- and while science doesn't give a rip about popular opinion, those numbers suggest that as far as policy goes, you may want to start investing in tundra farmland now. The other huge split is over perception of the Iraq War:
44% of voters believe the Bush administration intentionally misled the public about weapons of mass destruction to promote the Iraq War, while 45% disagree. 72% of Democrats believed the statement while 73% of Republicans did not.
We suppose that they use the "conspiracy" label here because of the "intentionally misled" part; the overall totals seem similar to other poll results that ask whether the Bush administration "lied" or whether it was relying on either "faulty intelligence" or "what it wanted to believe." Because, sure, different assessments of motive are totally the same as a conspiracy theory. Both Sides Do It!
There's a bunch of other fun stuff in here; 20% of Republicans say they believe Obama is the Antichrist, 21% of Americans believe a UFO crashed at Roswell in 1947, 14% think Bigfoot is real, 7% think the Moon landings were faked, and 5% think that Paul McCartney blew his mind out in a car and was replaced by a double in 1966.
The best news of all? Only 4% of Americans agree that
shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies.
Which means our agenda is right on track. HISSSSSSSSSSsssssssss.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.