A new poll finds that only one in five Republicans fully rejects QAnon conspiracy theories, with right-wing media consumption being the biggest determinant. Even worse, QAnon believers also support some level of civil war.
“Thinking about QAnon, if it were a religion, it would be as big as all white evangelical Protestants, or all white mainline Protestants,” Robby Jones, the founder of the Public Religion Research Institute, which conducted the poll, told The New York Times. “So it lines up there with a major religious group.”
To be clear, QAnon is not mainstream (yet). But an alarming number of Americans support it. The poll found that 20% of Americans agree believe the QAnon theory that a biblical storm will soon sweep away evil elites and “restore the rightful leaders.” 15% believe that “Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country,” and 15% believe “the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.” Those are all QAnon tenets.
Not surprisingly, Republicans are the biggest QAnon supporters. 23% are believers and another 55% are “doubters” who “mostly disagreed” but did not fully reject QAnon.
Also not surprisingly, the researchers found that media news consumption is by far the strongest independent predictor of QAnon beliefs. Those who most trust far-right media such as OAN and Newsmax are nine times more likely to be QAnon believers than those who most trust broadcast news. Fox News lovers are 2.3 times more likely to be QAnon believers.
But the most disturbing finding is the correlation between QAnon belief and the belief that armed conflict will be necessary. “It’s one thing to say that most Americans laugh off these outlandish beliefs, but when you take into consideration that these beliefs are linked to a kind of apocalyptic thinking and violence, then it becomes something quite different,” Jones told The Times.