Little British belief in outlandish conspiracy theories

May 27, 2016, 1:26 PM GMT+0

Most British people think that democracy is limited in this country, but very few believe in Holocaust or AIDS conspiracy theories

Yesterday the government released figures showing that 547,000 people moved to the UK in 2015, putting net migration at its second highest level of 330,000. Many Britons doubt the validity of these statistics, however, as a significant part of the public believes that the government is deliberately lying about the scope of immigration into the country. Doubts of the 'official' narrative of certain things can be quite widespread, as with immigration, but the more outlandish conspiracy theories are still tiny minority beliefs.

Research produced for the YouGov-Cambridge Centre confirms that people widely believe in certain conspiracy theories, but that the more outlandish theories find very little support. Most of the British public (51%), say that they think it is true that, despite being officially a democracy, Britain will actually always be run by a few people with power. 41% of people also say that the government is deliberately lying about how many immigrants there are in Britain.

When it comes to other more outlandish ideas, however, belief is dramatically lower. 13% of British people believe that a small cabal secretly rule the world, while 9% believe climate change is a malicious hoax. Only 2% of the British public believe in Holocaust conspiracy theories that wrongly allege that the official narrative overstates the number of Jews who were slaughtered by the Nazis.

Younger people are less likely than older people to believe in the more widespread theories, that Britain isn't a proper democracy and that the government lies about immigration statistics. While 60% of over-65s think that Britain is a democracy in name only, only 37% of 18-24s agree.

The divide is starkest on the issue of immigration. Only 15% of under-25s think that the government is lying about how many immigrants there are, compared to 61% of over-65s.