One in four Americans think Obama may be the antichrist, survey says
Poll asking voters about conspiracy theories reveals alarming beliefs – including 37% believing global warming to be a hoax
Paul Harris in New York; guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 2 April 2013 18.10 EDTt
About one in four Americans suspect that President Barack Obama might be the antichrist, more than a third believe that global warming is a hoax and more than half suspect that a secretive global elite is trying to set up a New World Order, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
The survey, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling, asked a sample of American voters about a number of conspiracy theories, phrasing the questions in eye-catching language that will have the country's educators banging their heads on their desks. The study revealed that 13% of respondents thought Obama was "the antichrist", while another 13% were "not sure" – and so were at least appeared to be open to the possibility that he might be. Some 73% of people were able to say outright that they did not think Obama was "the antichrist".
The survey also showed that 37% of Americans thought that global warming was a hoax, while 12% were not sure and a slim majority – 51% – agreed with the overwhelming majority view of the scientific establishment and thought that it was not. The survey also revealed that 28% of people believed in a sinister global New World Order conspiracy, aimed at ruling the whole world through authoritarian government. Another 25% were "not sure" and only a minority of American voters – 46% – thought such a conspiracy theory was not true.
At least some of the insane theories suggested by the poll were dismissed by large majorities. For example, only 7% of Americans in the survey believed the moon landing was faked, 14% believed in Bigfoot and 4% accepted that "shape-shifting alien reptilian people control our world by taking on human form". In other good news, Paul McCartney will be relieved that a mere 5% of respondents believed that he died in a car crash in 1966 and was replaced by a double so the Beatles could continue their careers, and just 11% embraced the concept that the US government knowingly allowed the terror attacks of 11 September 2001 to take place.
The survey was carried out in order to explore how voters' political beliefs impact on their willingness to embrace conspiracy theories – it did indeed find that the partisan divide that is blamed for many problems in Washington DC also extends to the world of paranoia, aliens and Sasquatch. For example, when it comes to thinking global warming is a hoax some 58% of Republicans agreed and 77% of Democrats disagreed. While 20% of Republicans believed Obama is the antichrist heralding the End Times, only 13% of independents did and just 6% of Democrats.
"Even crazy conspiracy theories are subject to partisan polarization, especially when there are political overtones involved. But most Americans reject the wackier ideas out there about fake moon landings and shape-shifting lizards," said PPP president Dean Debnam.