We Are Not QAnon Nation

Most Americans have never even heard of it.

Commenter Teve opens this morning’s open thread with a link to Kevin Drum‘s post “Barely Anyone Believes In QAnon’s Conspiracy Theories.”

Drum’s takeaway is an important one:

A few days ago Morning Consult released a poll showing that 18% of American adults believed in QAnon’s conspiracy theories. Shazam! That might be down a bit from previous polls, but 18% is still a lot. It’s one out of six Americans.

Except that if you read closely, that was 18% “among all adults who had heard of the group.” It turns out that two-thirds of adults have never even heard of QAnon, which means Morning Consult’s chart should have looked approximately like this:

When people read about this stuff, the chart is all that lot of them are going to see. They won’t read the accompanying text at all, let alone read it carefully. They’ll just take a quick glance and come away thinking that Americans are nuts.

But a proper chart shows that only 6% of adults think QAnon is even “somewhat” accurate. And only 2% think it’s very accurate.

[…]

Bottom line: We are not QAnon Nation. In fact, QAnon barely has a foothold in the American psyche at all.

It’s incredibly useful to understand that

  1. Journalists tend not to be great at math
  2. There’s an incredible incentive in journalism to draw sensational conclusions, especially at the headline level;
  3. Most Americans don’t read beyond the headlines.

But there’s arguably a more important takeaway here:

Thirty-six percent of adults said in the latest survey that they had heard either “a lot” or “some” about QAnon, compared to 27 percent who said the same in October of last year.

QAnon has been in the news a lot over the past couple of years. Yet, a whopping sixty-four percent of American adults have never heard of it.

Those of us who consume significant amounts of political news on a daily basis are the exception, not the norm. Those of us who spend hours weekly—if not daily—debating the news of the day are off-the-charts unusual.

Operating from the assumption that average Americans are well-informed about the news of the day and have thought deeply about the issues is, alas, a huge mistake.

Further, I would wager that the vast majority of the ~9 percent of Republicans and ~7 percent of Democrats who say that QAnon is at least “somewhat accurate” couldn’t actually tell you anything significant about the movement.

Indeed, as someone who has paid rapt attention to American politics for more than four decades, has three degrees in political science, has made a living thinking about aspects of politics for more than a quarter-century, and has hosted a politics blog for over eighteen years now, my understanding of QAnon is more than a little fuzzy. And I’ve read multiple articles and listened to a handful of podcasts on the subject—which almost certainly puts me in the 99th percentile of consumers of QAnon-related information.

I’d be willing to bet that few of Margorie Tayor Greene’s constituents had any idea what Q was last November, when they overwhelmingly voted for her, much less in the July primary runoff. Rather, they almost certainly saw her as a Sarah Palin-type plain-spoken gal running against Washington who was going to champion people like them.

That may well be a problem. Republican intellectuals like myself were highly critical of the choice of Palin as John McCain’s 2008 running mate and my friend and co-blogger Steven Taylor effectively left the party over that choice, seeing it as a final straw. But Palin was an ignoramus unqualified to be once removed from the nuclear button, not a deranged nut.

Regardless, I understand the appeal of Palin-type candidates to regular folks who are tired of politicians going to Washington and voting for the same elite-consensus policies. That’s especially the case decades removed from the era I grew up in, where there were only a handful of information gatekeepers, all sharing essentially the same information, and where there was little alternative but to watch a 30-minute nightly newscast if one had the television on. So, not only aren’t people well-informed they’re differently-informed.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Media, Politics 101, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    Hardly any Americans went to the Capitol on January 6, after all. A negligible percentage, really.

    26
  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Saw Drum’s piece and it raised a couple of questions.

    -Given the press Qanon has received lately, are people pleading ingnorance?
    -What level of acceptance do individual Qanon theories have and the believer is unaware of the source? I.e. they learned it on facebook or other social media and was not ID’d as Qanon.

    Regardless, I understand the appeal of Palin-type candidates to regular folks who are tired of politicians going to Washington and voting for the same elite-consensus policies.

    And the reason Jesse Ventura could be elected governor of a state with a relatively highly educated populace. Go back and watch the gubernatorial debates from that cycle and you see Jesse coming off as the most common sensical candidate.

    https://youtu.be/p_cY9niXeV8

    6
  3. James Joyner says:

    @Mikey:

    Hardly any Americans went to the Capitol on January 6, after all. A negligible percentage, really.

    So, two things:

    1. Yes, that’s actually important. 74 million Americans and change voted to re-elect Trump. At most, 2000 were inside the Capitol on January 6, and even most of those were more “aggressive tourists” than violent insurrectionists.

    2. Far too many Trump voter think the election was stolen. That’s a function of Trump’s lies and a propaganda machine that helped reinforce them. But, even of this subgroup, a tiny fraction are QAnon types.

    8
  4. CSK says:

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I think that some people who claim not to have heard of QAnon are being disingenuous. If you’re a certain kind of Trump supporter, it’s probably deeply embarrassing to be affiliated with a bunch of people who can be kindly described as total crackpots.

    10
  5. SKI says:

    @CSK: Maybe like Kevin McCarthy who denied knowing anything about QAnon only a few weeks after denouncing it.

    @James Joyner: That “tiny fraction” is about 13 Million citizens, no? (17% of 36% of 210 Million 18+ adults). Not sure we should be celebrating that number.

    Further, that someone hasn’t heard of QAnon doesn’t mean that they haven’t heard, consumed and/or internalized the QAnon propaganda/theories.

    10
  6. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner:

    Yes, we’re fortunate more people don’t know about QAnon or put much stock in it. Still, it doesn’t take a high percentage or large number of people to cause significant problems.

    And as far as the numbers go: The adult population of the US is around 255,000,000. So even if only 2% are Q “true believers” we’re still talking over five million people.

    3
  7. CSK says:

    @SKI:
    Trump affected not to know much about QAnon–only that they liked him.

    5
  8. ptfe says:

    @SKI: Q is just an organized, named representation of the singular collection of the most rabid insanity in the party. If you asked the same question about, say, White Supremacist ideals, you’d probably get most people being like “yeah I don’t think they’re right” – but Republicans en masse still advocate policies and believe myths that are ripped straight from White Supremacist literature.

    Add to this that QAnon radicalized people almost specifically through social media posts intended to boost Trump/Trumpism, not Q itself. It’s not a profitable industry except to the Q merch floggers, but those aren’t (generally) the people pushing the conspiracies. Trump was the tool; Q was like a part of the manufacturing process.

    Q was useful as a funnel for all the crazy conspiracy-minded people to latch onto, but every Republican I know was attracted like f’in moths to a flame to the Hunter Biden story, or to Mueller-as-turncoat, or to the election fraud bullshit. Many of them even think there are secret sex rings involving high-level officials. It fits their narrative that they’ve been fed since the ’90s, whether they mentally labeled it “QAnon” or not. And they didn’t have to buy into Q whole-hog to get the gist and start spewing it back during family gatherings or by echoing badly-sourced posts on Facebook. (God, what a terrible site that is.)

    13
  9. gVOR08 says:

    Yes, journalists tend to be sensationalist and innumerate. I can understand J schools not requiring, say, advanced calculus, but do they even give credit for basic statistics? But, to be honest, the numerate audience is small. And in this case, the chart came from the polling company, who one would hope would do better at presenting data. And focussing on the bad chart, I think, errs the other way. OK, it’s really only six percent. But I find six percent really scary. I would regard six percent as way past fringe.

    2
  10. PJ says:

    From that well known left-wing 😉 think tank AEI:

    After the ballots are counted: Conspiracies, political violence, and American exceptionalism

    Percentage saying that the following statement is either completely or mostly true:

    Donald Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.

    Democrats: 6%
    Independents: 15%
    Republicans: 29%

    Isn’t that a QAnon belief?

    also:

    A majority (55 percent) of Republicans support the use of force as a way to arrest the decline of the traditional American way of life. Forty-three percent of Republicans express opposition to this idea. Significantly fewer independents (35 percent) and Democrats (22 percent) say the use of force is necessary to stop the disappearance of traditional American values and way of life.

    The use of violence finds somewhat more support among Republicans than Democrats, although most Republicans oppose it. Roughly four in 10 (39 percent) Republicans support Americans taking violent actions if elected leaders fail to act. Sixty percent of Republicans oppose this idea. Thirty-one percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats also support taking violent actions if elected leaders do not defend the country.

    So, 39% of Republicans support what happened on the 6th, ordinary Americans taking violent actions when elected leaders fail to act.

    But about the 6th, that wasn’t ordinary Trump supporters, it was ANTIFA. Well, accordingly to Republicans:

    Again, percentage saying that the following statement is either completely or mostly true:

    Antifa, the anti-fascist activist group, was mostly responsible for the violence that happened in the riots at the US Capitol.

    Democrats: 20%
    Independents: 30%
    Republicans: 50%

    They support it until it happens and goes wrong, then someone else did it. The party of Personal Responsibility strikes again!

    12
  11. I absolutely agree that QAnon and other factions of the GOP are problems–very serious ones.

    But what these data show is that we need to have some sense of proportionality as to the nature of the problem.

    I am not saying that we ignore Q, not at all, but it also is not as motivating a factor as some seem to think is the case (even in conversations yesterday).

    5
  12. MarkedMan says:

    It’s always simplistic to say that a particular nation “is” or “is not” anything. But that caveat aside, The US most certainly is a QAnon Nation. We are in the process of impeaching a President because of actions instigated by QAnon beliefs and propaganda, and the bad actors who weaponized them.

    To say that because only X% know about QAnon may be of interest and it may even be relevant, but our character is not defined by percentages of willing believers but by what actually happened, and why.

    I would bet that compared to QAnon fewer Americans today know about the extent of torture the US employed during the early years of the Iraq and Afghani wars. And even fewer know that it is certain that American soldiers, CIA agents and mercenaries tortured innocent people to death, destroyed their bodies and destroyed the evidence. And none of those responsible at anything other than the lowest ranks were ever held responsible. So – based on percentage of people who know about it and would approve we are not a torture nation? That’s B.S. Based on what actually happened and why there is no doubt that America is a torture nation.

    7
  13. charon says:

    I don’t know what fraction has seen videos of the mob at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but I hope some might at least wonder what all those flags with the letter Q on them were about.

    4
  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But what these data show is that we need to have some sense of proportionality as to the nature of the problem.

    This makes no sense to me. Or rather, the implication that this sense of proportionality should lead us to breath a sigh of relief. Whatever the “common man” believes they didn’t stop a QAnon driven effort to overthrow our government and kill legislators and the Vice President. In what possible way is the danger of QAnon being blown out of proportion?

    6
  15. Andy says:

    A few thoughts about all this:
    – When you consider the margin of error for the poll, the 7% of Democrats vs 9% of Republicans who say that Qanon’s beliefs are “somewhat accurate” is a statistical tie. Assuming this polling is accurate (more on that in a second), that ought to cause some reevaluation. So I’ll repeat a point I’ve harped on here frequently – there isn’t just a left-right axis in this country, there is also an elite-pleb axis.

    – Polling in this country has really become a sham. It’s difficult for me to put faith in these numbers because of the variety of problems with modern polling that I won’t belabor here. But I’ve grown increasingly skeptical that polling firms are able to get accurate statistical samples.

    – For example and for the purposes of this poll, it would be wrong to assume that everyone polled (much less the extrapolated population based on the poll sample) has the same understanding of what Qanon believes. The number of people who think Qanon’s beliefs are “somewhat accurate” entirely depends on what people think Qanon believes. Again, it’s not safe to assume that everyone, or even most people, have the same understanding of Qanon’s beliefs.

    1
  16. @MarkedMan: Not sigh of relief. I never said that.

    I really wish everyone would stop taking any attempt to be a bit dispassionate or to seek to find the exact level of proportionality is either a defense of the GOP or, at a minimum, a dismissal of the problem.

    QAnon driven effort to overthrow our government and kill legislators and the Vice President.

    I don’t think that that is the right frame. While Q is part of this, the main culprit is Trump was the main motivator, not Q.

    And, I know you know that I think that Trump should be convicted and that every member of the House and Senate who do not support that own part of the culpability for all this.

    12
  17. Teve says:

    @gVOR08:

    OK, it’s really only six percent. But I find six percent really scary. I would regard six percent as way past fringe.

    shit, 3x that many believe in chemtrails.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/959315/belief-in-conspiracy-theories-in-the-us/

    2
  18. Teve says:

    Those of us who consume significant amounts of political news on a daily basis are the exception, not the norm.

    This is something that I have to remind myself on a regular basis. I’ll see man-in-the-street interviews and the citizen will say something like well I’m voting for the Republicans because they want to allow more immigration, and I’ll think what the fuck? Who doesn’t know the Republicans are anti-immigration? And then I’ll remind myself that somewhere in the U.K. there’s a guy right now thinking, What the fuck? Who doesn’t know that Edwin van der Sar is Manchester United’s second-best goalie?

    3
  19. KM says:

    This sounds like a branding problem really. What exactly are we defining as QAnon for this? Do you have to believe all the wacky ever-shifting beliefs or can you just hold a few? If you think the election was stolen by the Deep State and Trump was gonna cancel everyone’s debt but laugh at JFK Jr still being alive, does that count?

    The insidious thing about QAnon is it’s both aggregator and mutation incubator. It gathers in insane conspiracy crap from all over, rebrands it and then pushes it back out into new markets. #SaveTheChildren – sincere effort to stop child trafficking or spewing nonsense about adronchrome? COVID-19 anti-vaxxism – Big Pharma out to get ya with a shoddy product for profit, Gates trying to insert a chip in your brain or a war crime level medical experiment meant to lead to the loss of freedumb? I’m starting to see it filter into the liberal side by people who get feed one or two of the more innocuous premises and then start mindlessly repeating QAnon talking points without ever knowing what they really are. Way, way, WAY too many Americans hold QAnon or Q-adjacent beliefs without self-identifying as QAnon simply because it’s that diffuse and spread that far.

    We are absolutely a QAnon nation – just one that’s been sneakily indoctrinating in it. If they polled the individual beliefs (ie “The Deep State stole the election from Trump so he can still be POTUS”) without attributing it to QAnon or a conspiracy, I’d bet you’d get a lot higher affirmative than 6%.

    7
  20. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I really wish everyone would stop taking any attempt to be a bit dispassionate or to seek to find the exact level of proportionality is either a defense of the GOP or, at a minimum, a dismissal of the problem.

    I endorse this. The current media is full of “this person is CRAZY” stories, and “this person is OUTRAGEOUS” because they get lots of clicks. There are stories of this ilk to bait persons of any political persuasion. So, I’m a guy who leans left, but still wants a very accurate picture of what’s going on outside my own bubble. Accomplishing that, for me, requires that I get a bit dispassionate about stories that have my fellow travelers a bit wound up.

    It’s not wrong for them to be wound up, that’s the purpose of the exercise. However, when I exhibit my own lean towards temperance, this is often viewed as disloyalty or opposition, which can be hard to take. Again, this is how people work, in general, I think. Just the fact that I’m not getting excited seems to them to mark them as “wrong” somehow, which they protest against.

    Sigh.

    5
  21. KM says:

    @Andy :
    Another thought – QAnon is getting a bad rep nationally and they’re aware of that. I can’t remember the technical term but how many are giving answers they want the pollster to hear because they know there’s a stigma attached? I mean, a ton of Repubs will tell you they’re “Independent” because they don’t like the negative association the party is getting but they still hold the party line.

    How many Q’s know people will give them side-eyed if they admit it so they’ll give a false answer? How many are aware their beliefs sound wacky but still believe? How honest can they be expected to be when some of these beliefs can quite frankly get them on the FBI’s watchlist?

    4
  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Right. I know where you stand and agree with it. But I think a lot of our back and forth of the past few days boils down to this: my impression is that you feel it is highly significant that big percentages of the country are unaware of certain things and therefore that means … something. My contention is that is true for virtually everything and makes no meaningful difference. As proof, the fact that only a small percentage of people have crazy Trumpian beliefs did not prevent a literal siege of the Capitol and attempted murder of our elected representatives. The number of people that are true believers matters, but once it crosses a relatively low threshold the fact that it’s not a large percentage doesn’t really mean anything

    7
  23. flat earth luddite says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Thanks again, Dr. T. Speaking as someone who was there before, during, and after the Nixon years, I find the assumption that “Q” is a bloc, cabal, or organization misguided and, indeed, silly.

    While in high school and college, I knew protesters, pseudo (and proto) revolutionaries, and actual bomb builders determined to burn western civilization to the ground. (I also knew otherwise intelligent adults who thought a nuclear war with China and Russia were winnable, but that’s another topic). I’ve also known people who fought as guerillas in Poland and the Philippines in WWII. To me, the greatest “feature” about “Q”ers is the proud, willful ignorance. Bone-deep ignorance. Ignorance that is simply incomprehensible to me.

    As far as I can see, the ones I truly fear are the radicalized militia types who honestly believe that they’ll rule over the rubble they create. They remind me of dudes I knew in various groupings who were burning shit to the ground, and actively plotting revolution against the government.

    “Q,” OTOH, appears to be a fringe of the fringe whose main claim to fame is a near-complete separation from reality. The only reason I can see for the success of “Q” is the improvements in communication that lets like-minded disaffected find and contact each other. Folks like this were talking in basements in small groups (almost certainly since before Rome became an empire), but only now can they talk to similar basement dwellers across town, and around the world.

    Final thought for the moment (SHMBO’d has stuff I have to do). Any congress-kritter or senator who lived through 1/6 and does not vote to impeach is at minimum complicit in an attempted overthrow of the lawful government of the USA, and should be subject to the penalties traditionally held to failed secessionists. They are, at best, venal, corrupt, and beneath contempt.

    7
  24. de stijl says:

    I, myself, tend to not dismiss groups that over-ran the Capitol Police in an attempted coup. Occupied our capital building for four hours.

    Even if the planning was half-assed. (Dog catches car.)

    The next time might be coordinated.

    There can never be a next time.

    2
  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I don’t think that that is the right frame. While Q is part of this, the main culprit is Trump was the main motivator, not Q.

    It is most accurate to say that the main culprit is Trump and a white supremacist movement that preceded him. Q believers are useful idiots.

    5
  26. Teve says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I endorse this. The current media is full of “this person is CRAZY” stories, and “this person is OUTRAGEOUS” because they get lots of clicks.

    Once I realized that social media algorithms had the effect of enraging me with the outrage of the day, and that it was having a negative affect on me, I really had to change my relationship with who I followed and what I clicked on. Tomorrow if I log onto Twitter and I see “You won’t believe what Valerie Bertinelli said about Mongols!!!” it won’t even occur to me to click on that.

    2
  27. EddieInCA says:

    @Teve:

    I’d tell that sod that the ManU goalkeepers are David DeGea, Dean Henderson, Sergio Romero (soon to be gone on loan), and Lee Grant, and he needs to get his ass to a pub to watch a match.

    3
  28. gVOR08 says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    To me, the greatest “feature” about “Q”ers is the proud, willful ignorance.

    I tend to put it a little differently, the absolute certainty on things they know next to nothing about.

    People want to understand the world. But a realistic understanding requires not only a lot of effort, but also accepting a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty. And some people can’t live with ambiguity. Liberals can readily accept that the Capitol cops were heroes on 1/6 and cops sometimes kill people, especially Blacks, for no good reason. Other people have to force the square peg of cops into one of the round holes of hero or villain. And having done so, they will reject any evidence to the contrary.

    5
  29. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I really wish everyone would stop taking any attempt to be a bit dispassionate or to seek to find the exact level of proportionality is either a defense of the GOP or, at a minimum, a dismissal of the problem.

    That’s a pet peeve of mine as well, especially since it’s also never clear how much throat-clearing is required before people will take your actual point seriously. One can’t put everything in a blog comment or post and people shouldn’t assume the absence of something in a blog comment or post is indicative of anything.

    6
  30. Kathy says:

    I wonder how people can believe in conspiracy theories involving cannibalism, especially in the west.

    Cannibalism is a long-standing taboo in most cultures. It’s used to indicate extreme cruelty (which might be the point in conspiracies, come to think of it), or extreme desperation. It’s not as though a majority of people are constantly hankering for a hunk of human flesh.

    1
  31. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08:

    People want to understand the world. But a realistic understanding requires not only a lot of effort, but also accepting a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty. And some people can’t live with ambiguity.

    I came across this bit of wisdom not too long ago:

    @BrandonLBradfor
    Easy to make everything a conspiracy when you don’t know how anything works.

    2
  32. @Sleeping Dog:

    It is most accurate to say that the main culprit is Trump and a white supremacist movement that preceded him. Q believers are useful idiots.

    This strikes me as accurate.

    2
  33. @MarkedMan: I totally concur that a small number of people can make a lot of trouble. The FARC existed in Colombia for decades with less than 3000 active troops for decades (that number grew in the 2000s, but it was still never huge).

    And, so, yes, a small number of dangerous people are a real concern.

    But, first, I am not sure that QAnon is actually responsible, or even the main actor, in the Capitol Insurrection.

    More significantly, as it pertains to this post, is whether we are “QAnon nation” or if the GOP is being taken over by Q. I think the evidence says no to both.

    The evidence can say no to both, and we can still take seriously the capitol insurrection.

    3
  34. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    I don’t know, maybe you haven’t been to the picnic ground.

    1
  35. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Is that a real photo?

    In any case, that’s an instance of extreme desperation.

  36. Gustopher says:

    @PJ:

    Percentage saying that the following statement is either completely or mostly true:

    Donald Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.

    Democrats: 6%

    We might want to take a look at that 6%. If they are “prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites”, that might explain why they vote Democrat and are presumably opposed to Brave Sir Donald of Cheeseburger.

  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    Photo shopped, but hilarious

    You’re familiar with the story of the Donner party, aren’t you?

  38. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Because cannibalistic pedophiles who rape children and then slaughter them to drink the children’s blood for adenochrome is the worst thing they can think of, and Hillary Clinton and her lesbian lover Huma Abedin are they worst people they know.

    4
  39. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In a general sense, yes. Enough to know if cannibalism took place, it was extreme desperation. Like the airplane that crashed in the Andes.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    It was desperation. The Donner party was an 1850-ish wagon train of migrants who tried crossing the Sierras near Lake Tahoe, too late in the fall and were trapped. It was months before a rescue party could reach them.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I used to work with someone who thought she was descended from the Donner party. It turns out, the family lore was slightly wrong, she was descended from the survivors of another party, that was following the Donner party and hoping to catch up to them. The stragglers.

    They also resorted to cannibalism.

    There is a light snow coming down in Seattle, so I fear many people here will resort to cannibalism in the coming hours. Supermarkets have been out of avocados for days.

    4
  42. charon says:

    It’s possible to believe the same theories as QAnon without crediting them to QAnon.

    https://www.americansurveycenter.org/research/after-the-ballots-are-counted-conspiracies-political-violence-and-american-exceptionalism/

    The AEI survey found that white evangelicals were especially prone to subscribe to the Q Anon movement’s conspiracy theories. Twenty seven percent said it was “mostly” or “completely” accurate to say Trump “has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.” That share was higher than for any other faith group and more than double the support for QAnon beliefs evident among Black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics and non-Christians.

    “As with a lot of questions in the survey, white evangelicals stand out in terms of their belief in conspiracy theories and the idea that violence can be necessary,” Cox says. “They’re far more likely to embrace all these different conspiracies.”

  43. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I think there are a few things going on that causes us to be disagreeing on the whole despite agreeing in every particular.

    First, I think my position (Some Trump voters are evil. Many more of them are indifferent or oblivious to evil) is very different than Michael’s (All of them are evil), and I suspect you don’t see much of a difference. But there is, at least in my mind. I’ve believed since grade school* that most people just go along and are willing to ignore or justify whatever is happening around them, but I also believe that those people for the most part aren’t actively evil. In fact, I often try to examine my own self and see where I’m failing to live up to a moral standard, because if they don’t see it in themselves, why should I be so sure I see it in my own self? Bottom line, I think there is a big difference between two groups.

    Second, I think you find it significant that “only 15% or 20%” believe something or will act on that belief whereas, given item number 1 and the fact that most people travel in whatever group they find themselves with, that 15% gets a lot more momentum than the bare numbers indicate. What matters is what actually happens, not what percentage says they want to have it happen.

    Third, I think a group or country or organization is defined by those that are causing the action (not necessarily leading as such). The crazy Trumpers are dictating the movement of the Republican Party. I don’t really care if they self identify as QAnon or hate, what matters is that this relatively small percentage is nuts, and that they have all but a handful of senior Republican leadership in the 50 states and nationally, dancing to their every tune. They control the party. They are forcing the action. I don’t see what different it makes what their actual numbers are.

    *The exact moment of realization? When we were sitting in the darkened auditorium watching the black and white documentaries about the Nazi death camps and I looked around and wondered what made any of these kids and their parents any different than the Germans that allowed it to happen. And even at that age I couldn’t think of anything.

    4
  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Yet another reason not to let yourself become avocado shaped. And on that, I’ll head to the treadmill…

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I dunno what’s going on in Seattle, but in Longview, WA, we’re swimming in them. Last time I was in the store they were on the end bin in the produce department where the on ad apples and navel oranges go and we were selling them for 78 cents each. It was a display of about 2o or so flats 2 flats deep and they were also where they usually are in the department.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    If the Seattleites follow form, they will wipe the grocery out of perishables, only to throw them away due to the power outage.

    I need to get back to Seattle some day.

    2
  47. @MarkedMan:

    Some Trump voters are evil. Many more of them are indifferent or oblivious to evil

    I think this is true as a general statement. Although as an analytical matter, I tend not to use the term “evil.” But I have no problem, as a normative matter, to say that conscious white supremacists are evil (for example).

    I definitely find any frame that suggests that Ds are good and Rs are evil to be beyond silly.

    The crazy Trumpers are dictating the movement of the Republican Party. I don’t really care if they self identify as QAnon or hate, what matters is that this relatively small percentage is nuts, and that they have all but a handful of senior Republican leadership in the 50 states and nationally, dancing to their every tune. They control the party. They are forcing the action. I don’t see what different it makes what their actual numbers are.

    The crux of our disagree is buried in all of this. I even agree, to a point, with your general point, but it is just so much more complicated than this (and I don’t have the mental energy to elaborate).

    I think we agree in a general way (and I think your position is far closer to mine than MR’s is). I just think that in a lot of these conversations some really gross oversimplification goes on, and hence my attempts at trying to get beyond that level of description.

    3
  48. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: BLOODY GIT! (smashes beer mug over Eddie’s head)

  49. Teve says:

    @Mikey: That quote is very true

  50. Teve says:

    @charon:

    The AEI survey found that white evangelicals were especially prone to subscribe to the Q Anon movement’s conspiracy theories. Twenty seven percent said it was “mostly” or “completely” accurate to say Trump “has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.”

    Uh-huh.

  51. Teve says:

    (I know The Crazification Factor is only marginally better than numerology but it’s fun 😛 )

    2
  52. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @SKI: I remember when the secret pedo cabal trope was peddled about Republican politicians in Washington. Now its been repurposed and aimed at Dems.

    1
  53. Scott O says:

    We’re not a Qanon nation. But we’re 30 – 40 % a Fox nation, where conspiracies and inanities abound. I’m not worried about Q types, I’m worried about the number of people who think the election was stolen.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: I believe in the 27% crazification factor. It gives me hope to believe the number is that low, and that there’s some way to reach the rest of Trump’s 46%.

  55. James Joyner says:

    @Scott O:

    I’m not worried about Q types, I’m worried about the number of people who think the election was stolen.

    I’m worried about Q types, because they’re extremists, but they’re thankfully few in number. But, yes, I agree mass delusion is a larger problem.

    3
  56. al Ameda says:

    @Mikey:

    Hardly any Americans went to the Capitol on January 6, after all. A negligible percentage, really.

    Exactly right, just 0.000076 of Americans attended the January 6th Sedition & Insurrection Rally.

    At some point it does not matter how many people believe completely, strictly or firmly in anything, it almost becomes beside-the-point. How many people know what Socialism is? Doesn’t matter, millions of Americans believe it is Soviet, Cuban, North Korean or Albanian Communism.

    1