This sounds about right: As of Dec. 30, 2020, well over a third of Americans believe wild conspiracy theories designed to sow fear and societal collapse. A poll from NPR and the market research company Ipsos found that a solid 40% of Americans believe that covid-19 was created in a lab in China, 37% are “unsure” of whether Satanic pedophiles run the media and politics, and 47% believe that most Black Lives Matter protests were violent.
I take this as positive short-term news. We’ve been saying each year was the worst year since 2016, but we should probably buckle up for a series of bad years and cherish what we have. Every day could be the best day.
The poll, which was taken from Dec. 21-22, broaches the kinds of humiliating internet horrors one would hope that no pollster would ever drop on your grandmother a few days before Christmas. While a mere 17% of respondents wholly believe in a Satanic sex abuse cabal, 37% read that statement and thought, “hmmmmm” (“don’t know”), while only 47% affirmed that this statement is false. Meanwhile, 39% believe that a Deep State is “working to undermine President Trump.”
We can hope that the Satanic sex abuse cabal question, framed as “a group of Satan-worshipping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media” would have elicited the answer “don’t know” because it’s such an alien concept that one might check the closest option to “WTF.”
That’s possible; while a September Daily Kos/Civiqs poll found that 56% of Republicans believe that QAnon is true or at least partly true, previous polls had consistently found that most Americans had never heard of QAnon.
More disturbing is that people are mainlining Trump’s classics; in addition to wide belief about anti-BLM propaganda, 41% are unsure of or don’t believe that Barack Obama was born in the U.S.
This one is extremely not great: 49% are also unsure about or fully believe that vaccines cause autism.
But there is a silver lining in that 70% want to see a peaceful transition of power, 74% agree that masks work, 69% believe in human-caused climate change, and—I can’t believe this is news—most people don’t think school shootings were staged. Also good news: the sample size of 1,115 adults is relatively small.
Then again, Trump supporters statistically fuck up polls.
Nothing makes sense. So long, 2020, a symbolic Gregorian marker of time in an infinite series of days which could be better or worse, depending on Facebook’s moderation efforts.