Abstract

In this brief, author Lawrence Hamilton reports the results of a nationwide U.S. survey that asked respondents whether they agreed, disagreed, or were unsure about a series of statements that mixed pseudo-science con­spiracy claims with well-established scientific facts.

Around 10 percent of respondents agreed with conspiracy claims that the Earth is flat, NASA faked the Moon landings, or COVID-19 vaccinations implant tracking microchips. For comparison, 58 to 83 percent agreed with statements of basic scientific facts—such as the Earth is billions of years old, or revolves around the Sun. Although agreement with conspiracy claims was low overall, it was significantly higher among two subgroups: Millennials, and supporters of ex-president Trump.

Conspiratorial thinking or conspiracist ideation has become a prominent feature of current U.S. politics, shaping how many people think about elections, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other issues. Origins and explanations for conspiratorial beliefs are consequently the focus of much research. The survey results described in this brief fit generally with previous studies, while adding new details.

Department

Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Spring 4-25-2022

Series

National Issue Brief No. 162

Publisher

Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://dx.doi.org/10.34051/p/2022.08

Document Type

Article

Rights

Copyright 2022. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.

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