Half of Trump supporters wrongly believe that top Democrats are involved in a child-trafficking ring, the bizarre, unsupported claim pushed as the extremist conspiracy theory known as QAnon, according to a new poll by Yahoo News/YouGov. Comparatively, only 5 percent of Biden supporters believe in the conspiracy theory, according to the poll.
The pollster say they interviewed 1,583 registered voters from Oct. 16 to 18, and found that just 55 percent of respondents have even heard of the conspiracy theory –– 48 percent of whom are Trump supporters compared to 69 percent of Biden supporters who have heard of the theory.
About 59 percent of registered voters who say they've heard of QAnon accurately say it has no basis in fact, according to the poll. Of those skeptical of QAnon, 16 percent of Trump supporters find it baseless –– compared to 85 percent of pro-Biden respondents who do, the pollster say.
According to the poll, just 7 percent of total respondents who have heard of the conspiracy theory actually believe it is true and 11 percent say "it goes too far but I believe some of what I've heard." A recorded 23 percent of total respondents say they "aren't sure".
Of those respondents, 15 percent who identify as pro-Biden either believe some part of the theory, all of it, or are undecided, according to the poll.
Whereas the poll found 84 percent of Trump supporters either believe in some part of the theory, all of it, or are undecided –– specifically, 22 percent who say the theory "goes too far but I believe some of what I've heard," 47 percent are "not sure" what to believe," and the remaining 15 percent openly "think it's true".
During a town hall in October, hosted by Moderator Savannah Guthrie said that the theory involved baseless lies about "satanic" Democratic pedophile rings.
“I know nothing about QAnon,” Trump replied — adding that, except that “they are very strongly against pedophilia, and I agree with that.”
The polls says that 74 percent of pro-Trump respondents found Trump's response during the town hall appropriate –– whereas only 5 percent of Biden supporters found the comments appropriate.
A recorded 51 percent of total respondents do not believe Democrats are involved in the child sex-trafficking ring –– but a quarter of respondents do, according to the poll. The remaining 24 percent are unsure.
When removing "QAnon" from the question –– and solely asking about the conspiracy theory's underlying myth which says that President Trump is secretly fighting an alleged sex trafficking ring, 52 percent of Trump supporters believe the president is working to combat the imaginary ring, according to the poll, and only 4 percent of Biden supporters say they believe the president is fighting the ring.
37 percent of Trump supporters and 16 percent of Biden supporters are unsure whether the president is working to dismantle the ring, according to the poll.
Nina Jankowicz, who studies the intersection of democracy and technology as a disinformation fellow at the nonpartisan Wilson Center, told Yahoo News, that it's "really crazy" that "such a high number" of Trump supporters believe QAnon's core conspiracy theory.
Jankowicz testified last week at a virtual hearing of the House Intelligence Committee about the dangers of QAnon and other sources of misinformation online.
"It seems increasingly like we're dealing with two different sets of facts in this country," Jancowicz told the outlet. "The fact that QAnon is a movement, a conspiracy that has been cited by the FBI as potentially inciting terrorist and other violent extremist acts in this country."
Though QAnon may be a partisan theory, Jankowicz emphasized that countering disinformation shouldn’t be a “partisan issue".