Americans don't agree on much these days but one thing a majority can find common ground on is the belief that the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks.
That's from a new Chapman University survey that also finds nearly half of the responders also believe a coverup surrounds the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Surprisingly, “The Chapman University Survey on American Fears” from the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences finds much larger percentages of folks buying into conspiracies about alien encounters and global warming than about President Barack Obama's birth certificate and the moon landing.
Everyone agrees with one conspiracy or another. How conspiratorial are we? A third of those asked believe the government is concealing information about the North Dakota crash—an event Chapman totally made up.
This year's survey compilers asked questions about levels of belief in nine different popular conspiracies/conspiracy theories. Here are the subjects and the corresponding percentages of those who agreed or strongly agreed:
The 9/11 attacks 54.3%
The JFK assassination 49.6%
Alien encounters 42.6%
Global warming 42.1%
Plans for a one world government 32.9%
Obama’s birth certificate 30.2%
The origin of the AIDs virus 30.1%
The death of supreme court justice Antonin Scalia 27.8%
The moon landing 24.2%
“We find strong evidence that the United States is a strongly conspiratorial society,” say survey takers. “Only about a fourth of Americans (26 percent) disagreed or strongly disagreed with all nine conspiracy theories. The remaining three-fourths (74 percent) of the population finds at least one conspiracy theory somewhat convincing; if not more than one. Fully 10 percent of the sample agreed or strongly agreed with all nine conspiracies.”
Besides raw numbers, the examiners broke respondents down by age, gender, employment status, etc. to conclude that the most likely conspiracy believer is a Republican who is employed but has a lower level of income and education. He or she is likely to be a Catholic or a member of a non-Judeo-Christian religion but who attends religious services infrequently.
As you can also read on Chapman's blog, those who are Christian tend to believe that the bible is the literal word of God.
“Conspiracy theorists tend to be more pessimistic about the near future, more fearful of government, less trusting of other people in their lives and more likely to engage in actions due to their fears, such as purchasing a gun,” compilers concluded.
They also found the belief in the impending end of the world increases steadily with belief in conspiracy theories.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.