Which conspiracy theories do populists believe?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
May 03, 2019, 12:56 PM GMT+0

9/11 was orchestrated by the US government, the world is run by a secret group of elites and aliens have made contact with Earth

New data from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project reveals that those who hold populist views also tend to be more likely to believe in various conspiracy theories.

Across the 19 countries surveyed, the most commonly held conspiracy theory among 'defined populists' is that some Illuminati-style group secretly rules the world. Fully 40% of these respondents think that world affairs are being orchestrated in such a manner, compared to just under a quarter (23%) of the public as a whole.

A quarter of populists (27%) believe that information about the harmful effects of vaccines is being hidden from the public, while a similar figure (24%) are 9/11 ‘Truthers’, believing that the US government knowingly helped the attack on the World Trade Center happen. By contrast, only 16% to 17% of the full population of these countries hold these beliefs.

One in five populists (19%) believe that humanity has made first contact with aliens, but that this information is being kept from the public (compared to 13% of all people), while 18% think AIDS is a man-made disease that was created by a secret group (contrasted with the 10% of the general publics who believe this).

Less commonly held populist views – and ones in which they are less likely than the general public to differ on – are that global warming is a hoax (which 14% of populists believe compared to 10% of everyone) and that the Holocaust has been exaggerated (8% of populists, 6% of all people).

Photo: Getty

See the full results here and here

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