Presidential contests and conspiracies

Truth doesn’t seem to be particularly important in US politics – to politicians or to voters.

Conspiracy theories are popular, especially to Donald Trump and Republican supporters.

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll Finds Trump Supporters More Conspiracy-Minded Than Other Republicans

Conspiracy theories are alive and well among supporters of the 2016 Republican candidates for President, but Trump supporters are more likely than Kasich or Cruz voters to endorse them. Trump supporters are more likely than those of the other Republicans to believe in birther theories about President Obama, think that Hillary Clinton knew about the Benghazi attacks before they happened, and to think that global warming is a myth.

The most popular was the belief that Democratic Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton knew about the Benghazi attacks before they took place, with 23 percent of Americans saying that it was “definitely true,” – including 10 percent of registered Democrats.

The least popular theory dealt with whether there was a link between childhood vaccines and autism, something only 7 percent of Americans said was “definitely true.”

“Conspiracy theories appeal to voters across the spectrum,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the poll. “The data shows that lots of people on both sides of the aisle are willing to believe a theory when it claims someone they dislike was up to something nefarious.”

The conspiracy theories checked in the survey:

  • President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks before they happened
    Definitely true 15%, Possibly true 31%
  • President Obama is hiding important information about his background and early life
    Definitely true 17%, Possibly true 29%
  • It has been proven that childhood vaccines cause autism
    Definitely true 7%, Possibly true 36%
  • The 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook elementary were faked, in order to increase support for gun control
    Definitely true 8%, Possibly true 14%
  • Global warming is a myth concocted by scientists
    Definitely true 18%, Possibly true 23%
  • As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton knew the US Embassy in Benghazi was going to be attacked and did nothing to protect it
    Definitely true 23%, Possibly true 37%

 

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Source – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/28/for-hillary-clinton-the-benghazi-damage-has-been-done/

Ironically those who ‘believe’ President Obama is hiding information about his past have been called ‘Truthers’.

Truth and politics are often tenuous partners.