Year-Long Study Finds QAnon Believers Most Influenced by Far-Right Media – Baptist News Global


Media consumption remains the most important consumption predictor of whether a person believes in QAnon conspiracy theories, according to new longitudinal data from the Public Religion Research Institute.

After tracking American opinions on QAnon’s core beliefs during 2021, PRRI found a slight increase in the percentage of believers in QAnon from the start of the year to the end. However, the proportion of Americans who believe or are at least willing to believe has remained virtually stable throughout 2021.

QAnon is a loosely organized conspiracy movement associated with former President Donald Trump. The most common tenets of his supporters include the belief that a network of Satan-worshipping pedophiles controls the government and the media, that a coming “storm” will sweep them from power, and that Trump is secretly fighting to expose the wrongdoers who control the political and economic power systems.

The ideology has become so entrenched with a minority of Americans that despite Trump’s departure, despite major social media platforms banning QAnon content, and despite the mysterious leading figure of the internet’s disappearing movement – despite all these things, the movement continued to thrive.

Characteristics of QAnon Believers

And now, with a year of data in hand, PRRI confirms that most characteristics of those who are likely to be QAnon believers have not changed over time.

Media consumption remains by far the best predictor of QAnon membership. “Americans who trust far-right news outlets like One America News Network and Newsmax the most are nearly five times more likely than those who trust mainstream news the most to be QAnon supporters” , the company reported. “Additionally, Americans who trust Fox News the most are about twice as likely as those who trust mainstream news to be QAnon believers.”

Although this trait far surpasses all others, a secondary trait is also common among QAnon believers: possessing only a high school diploma or less.

“Compared to Americans with a graduate degree, Americans with a high school diploma or less are nearly four times more likely to be QAnon believers, those with some college experience but not four-year degrees are two and a half times more likely,” PRRI said. .

A third factor – but with about half the odds associated with media consumption – is identifying as a curator.

Taken together, the three most notable descriptors of a QAnon believer in 2021 watched far-right media, only held a high school diploma or less, and identified as a “conservative,” whether as a Republican, Democrat or Independent.

However, QAnon believers are twice as likely to be Republicans as Democrats.

Additionally, while QAnon believers are mostly white, there are larger than expected shares of Hispanic and black believers.

How the study was carried out

The PRRI study was simple. In four surveys conducted in 2021, respondents were asked to rate their level of belief in three core tenets of the QAnon movement. They were asked whether they completely agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or completely disagree with these statements:

  • The government, media, and financial world in the United States are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.
  • There is soon a storm that will sweep away the ruling elites and restore the legitimate rulers.
  • Because things have gotten so off the rails, true American patriots may have to resort to violence to save our country.

In all four polls, more than a fifth (22%) of Americans mostly or completely agreed that a storm is brewing (22%), while 18% said violence may be necessary to save our country and 16% said the government, media and financial worlds are controlled by Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

PRRI then created a composite to measure and identify three groups:

  • QAnon believers completely or mostly agreed with these statements.
  • QAnon skeptics mostly disagreed with these statements.
  • QAnon rejecters completely disagreed with all three statements.

Using this framework, 16% of Americans in 2021 could be characterized as QAnon believers, 48% as QAnon skeptics, and 34% as QAnon rejecters. The share of QAnon believers increased slightly (one point) from March to October.

Demographics of QAnon Believers

The longitudinal study found that a quarter of Republicans (25%) were believers, compared to 14% of independents and 9% of Democrats. “Nearly half of Republicans (47%) who most trust far-right news outlets like One America News Network or Newsmax are QAnon supporters, along with a quarter of Republicans who trust the most Fox News (26%) or don’t trust TV news (26%) Fewer (18%) of Republicans who trust mainstream media like CNN, MSNBC, public television or broadcast news the most are QAnon supporters,” PRRI noted.

Surprisingly, however, about one in four Hispanic Protestants (27%) are believers in QAnon, as are 17% of Black Protestants and Black Catholics. Hispanic Catholics are nine points less likely to be QAnon believers than Hispanic Protestants.

The difference between white evangelical Protestants and white mainline Protestants is stark: 23% of white evangelicals are QAnon believers, compared to 14% of white mainline Protestants.

Yet PRRI data shows that adherence to QAnon conspiracy theories has permeated a portion of every religious group, from white evangelicals and Mormons to Buddhists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Seen another way, in a representative group of 10 QAnon believers, two would be white evangelical Protestants, two would be without religious affiliation, one would be mainline white Protestants, one would be white Catholic, one would be Hispanic Catholic , one would be a black Protestant, and the rest would be a mixture of Hispanic Protestants, other non-Christian religions, other Christian denominations, other Protestants of color, and other Catholics of color.

However, religion aside, a majority of QAnon believers (58%) are white and 20% are Hispanic. Only 13% are black.

PRRI found little variation in age categories among QAnon believers compared to the general population. Believers are more likely to have a household income of less than $50,000 per year, live in the suburbs, and live in the southern United States. However, believers are found in all parts of the country, as well as in urban and rural areas.

Other beliefs

Generally, QAnon believers in 2021 shared these attitudes:

  • Negative opinions of the Democratic Party and positive opinions of the Republican Party.
  • Belief that the Republican Party “is trying to protect the American way of life from outside threats.”
  • Belief that the Democratic Party “has been taken over by the socialists”.
  • Negative perceptions of President Joe Biden and his job performance.
  • Positive views of Trump and the belief that he is a “true patriot”.
  • The certainty that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Trump despite no evidence to that effect.
  • Belief that Trump, white supremacists and QAnon supporters were not responsible for the January 6, 2021 uprising at the United States Capitol.
  • Belief that America is “in danger of losing its culture and identity”.
  • Belief that God has granted America a special role in human history or that “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.”
  • The certainty that believing in God is very or quite important to being “truly American”.

Related Articles:

QAnon is he a prophet or a provocateur? And how should Christians react? | Analysis by Aaron Coyle-Carr

The Second Coming of JFK Jr. and Other Unrealities: Signs of Our Times | Opinion of Bill Leonard

Why are Christians so susceptible to conspiracy? | Analysis by Andrew Gardner


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