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Even If It’s ‘Bonkers,’ Poll Finds Many Believe QAnon And Other Conspiracy Theories


A car with a flag endorsing the QAnon conspiracy theory drives by as supporters of President Trump gather for a rally outside the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul, Minn., on Nov. 14.

A significant number of Americans believe misinformation about the origins of the coronavirus and the recent presidential election, as well as conspiracy theories like QAnon, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll.

Forty percent of respondents said they believe the coronavirus was made in a lab in China even though there is no evidence for this. Scientists say the virus was transmitted to humans from another species.

And one-third of Americans believe that voter fraud helped Joe Biden win the 2020 election, despite the fact that courtselection officials and the Justice Department have found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have changed the outcome.

The poll results add to mounting evidence that misinformation is gaining a foothold in American society and that conspiracy theories are going mainstream, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. This has raised concerns about how to get people to believe in a “baseline reality,” said Chris Jackson, a pollster with Ipsos.

“Increasingly, people are willing to say and believe stuff that fits in with their view of how the world should be, even if it doesn’t have any basis in reality or fact,” Jackson said.

“What this poll really illustrates to me is how willing people are to believe things that are ludicrous because it fits in with a worldview that they want to believe.”

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