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Partisanship shouldn’t be sufficient to elucidate why so many Individuals – largely Republicans – mistrust the result of the 2020 presidential election.
As students in political conduct and strategies, we’re conscious of one other think about voters’ pondering that has elevated proper alongside electoral mistrust: Individuals’ beliefs in conspiracy theories, particularly people who specific distrust of presidency officers.
Our analysis, which has not but been printed, finds that these two beliefs are linked – to the extent that Individuals who imagine aliens have visited Earth are extra seemingly than disbelievers to say that Joe Biden shouldn’t be the authentic winner of the 2020 presidential election. As conspiracy principle beliefs develop within the U.S., we count on a corresponding drop in public belief in elections.
Drawing on educational literature targeted on belief in electoral processes, we determined to look particularly at voters’ conspiratorial beliefs. On Jan. 19, 2021, the eve of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, we carried out a survey of 633 Louisiana registered voters, chosen at random. We requested a collection of questions on their spiritual beliefs, their beliefs in extraterrestrial life and whether or not Joe Biden had been the rightful winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The important thing questions we requested have been:
Do you imagine that there’s life within the universe aside from on Earth?
Do you imagine that extraterrestrials have visited the Earth?
Do you imagine that Joe Biden is the rightful winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election?
We weighted the solutions to replicate the statewide inhabitants stability of gender, age and race.
Aliens and electoral belief
We discovered that Democrats and third-party and unbiased voters have been considerably extra inclined to imagine conspiracy theories than Republicans. That matches with different current surveys indicating that each events do certainly have conspiratorial leanings, although the partisan divide could affect which specific conspiracies an individual believes.
Perception in conspiracy theories – the concept that secret causes are behind real-world occasions – have circulated broadly within the pandemic disaster and election cycle partly due to the evolution of social media networks and their capability to create echo chambers, communities the place folks encounter solely those that agree with them.
The QAnon motion, which holds the election was fraudulent specifically, has developed from periphery to a rising mainstream group with widespread affect.
Conspiracist pondering matches nicely with Donald Trump’s false claims that the election was fraudulent. QAnon believers think about the truth that he has misplaced all of the authorized challenges making an attempt to show his declare to be extra proof that highly effective and secretive forces are at work to steal the election and conceal the reality from the general public.
Most of our survey’s respondents – 59.7% – imagine the defensible chance that life exists elsewhere within the universe than simply on Earth. And 32.3% – practically one-third – of the respondents imagine that aliens have truly visited Earth, although governments proceed to disclaim any such factor. Third-party and unbiased voters usually tend to imagine this than Democrats or Republicans.
We additionally discovered that simply over half of the respondents didn’t imagine Biden was rightfully elected president. There was a transparent partisan cut up there, with 74% of Democrats trusting the outcomes however solely 12% of Republicans believing them. Third-party and unbiased voters have been extra evenly divided, with 36% trusting the outcomes, 45% not believing them and 19% uncertain.
Each of those beliefs specific doubt about authorities officers’ truth-telling: In a single, leaders are masking up an alien go to, and within the different, they’re deceptive the general public about election outcomes. After we have a look at individuals who share each of those beliefs, we discover that out of the respondents who imagine aliens have visited Earth, 57.6% additionally imagine Biden was not rightfully elected president.
The connection between perception in ET visitation and electoral distrust is statistically important, even when controlling for varied different determinants akin to partisanship, age, race and intercourse.
These findings are restricted as a result of we surveyed solely Louisiana voters. However we imagine voters’ beliefs might be comparable in a number of different states the place Trump additionally received by double-digit margins, together with Alabama, Idaho, Kansas and West Virginia.
Whereas a selected perception in extraterrestrial visits to Earth might not be immediately inflicting a perception in election fraud, these two concepts are conspiracy-oriented: Individuals who imagine the federal government is mendacity about one usually tend to imagine officers are hiding the reality in regards to the different.
The authors don’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that might profit from this text, and have disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.