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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Conspiracies and Other Myths

Public Policy Polling reports on a new survey:
Over the course of the campaign we found there was a cult like aspect to Trump's support, where any idea he put forth a substantial share of his supporters would go along with. We see that trend continuing post election. 60% of Trump voters think that Hillary Clinton received millions of illegal votes to only 18% who disagree with that concept and 22% who aren't sure either way.
A couple other findings related to the vote in this year's election:
-40% of Trump voters insist that he won the national popular vote to only 49% who grant that Clinton won it and 11% who aren't sure.
-Only 53% of Trump voters think that California's votes should be allowed to count in the national popular vote. 29% don't think they should be allowed to count, and another 18% are unsure.
There's been a lot of attention to the way fake news has spread and been believed especially by Trump supporters and that's borne out in our polling:
-73% of Trump voters think that George Soros is paying protesters against Trump to only 6% who think that's not true, and 21% who aren't sure one way or the other.
-14% of Trump supporters think Hillary Clinton is connected to a child sex ring run out of a Washington DC pizzeria. Another 32% aren't sure one way or another, much as the North Carolinian who went to Washington to check it out last weekend said was the case for him. Only 54% of Trump voters expressly say they don't think #Pizzagate is real.
There's also been a lot of discussion recently about how we might be in a post-fact world and we see some evidence of that coming through in our polling:
-67% of Trump voters say that unemployment increased during the Obama administration, to only 20% who say it decreased.
-Only 41% of Trump voters say that the stock market went up during the Obama administration. 39% say it went down, and another 19% say they're not sure.
Back in May, PPP polled voters with a favorable opinion of Trump:
-65% think President Obama is a Muslim, only 13% think he's a Christian.
-59% think President Obama was not born in the United States, only 23% think that he was.
-27% think vaccines cause autism, 45% don't think they do, another 29% are not sure.
-24% think Antonin Scalia was murdered, just 42% think he died naturally, another 34% are unsure.
-7% think Ted Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of JFK, 55% think he was not involved, another 38% are unsure.
And closing the loop on the greatest conspiracy theory of this election- a rare one that Trump didn't embrace- 5% of voters nationally think Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, 18% are unsure, and 77% find Cruz not guilty of the charge of being a serial killer in diapers. So at least he has that going for him.
It is not just Trumpistas, as an October survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University showed:
Almost 90 percent of Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s supporters believe in conspiracies that smear the candidate they don’t like, even in the absence of credible evidence, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind national poll. Conspiracy beliefs unrelated to the election—such as birtherism, trutherism, and even the belief that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by scientists continue unabated.
A majority of Trump’s supporters believe that President Barack Obama is “definitely” or “possibly” hiding important information about his background and early life. Among Trump supporters, 24 percent say that Obama is “definitely” doing so, and 43 percent say it’s “possibly true.” In contrast, only 14 percent of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s supporters fit into either category. In sum, skepticism about Obama’s background among Republicans has decreased, but not significantly. In May of this year, 31 percent of Republicans said Obama was definitely hiding this information, and 39 percent said it was possible. Five months later, 21 percent of Republicans say that it’s “definitely” true, and 43 percent say that it’s possible.
“Trump’s statement that he now believes Obama was born in the U.S. doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact on Trump supporters,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and an analyst for the PublicMind poll.
...
Sixty-four percent of Americans say it’s at least possible the two major political parties rig the primary election process to make it harder for outside candidates to get the presidential nomination. Fifty-six percent of Clinton supports say that the primary system is “possibly” or “definitely” rigged, compared with 70 percent of Trump supporters.