When we’re talking about 15 percent of Americans, we’re talking about nearly 50 million people, the populations of California and New Jersey combined. It’s a lot of people. And that, according to new research published by PRRI on Thursday, is the number of Americans who say they believe the most out-there components of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
PRRI’s findings come from a survey conducted with IFYC in which they asked people specifically about components of QAnon. For example, they presented this exact statement, which is often presented as the most extreme iteration of the conspiracy theory’s belief system:
“The government, media and financial world in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.”
And it was with that, that specific belief, that 15 percent of respondents said they agreed.
On two other statements, similar levels of agreement emerged. When the pollsters asked if Americans agreed that “there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders” — again, a theme in QAnon — 1-in-5 said they did. On a more alarming proposition, that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country,” the level of agreement was again 15 percent.
This is a really surprising level of support for fundamentally baseless or anti-democratic sentiment. But, as you might expect, it’s also not evenly distributed. Republicans, for example, are more likely to agree with the statements above than are Democrats. Those who say they have the most trust in Fox News as a news source generally agree with the statements about as much as Republicans do, which makes sense given the overlap of those two groups.
The media consumers who stand out the most, though, are those who give the most trust to far-right networks like One America News or Newsmax. Among those respondents, at least 4-in-10 agreed with the idea of a satanic cabal and nearly half believed that a storm was coming.