A full 50 percent of President Trump’s supporters now believe the bizarre, made-up claims about an international ring of child sex traffickers at the core of the extremist conspiracy theory known as QAnon, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll — a disturbing sign of how susceptible partisans have become to bogus stories in an age of rampant polarization and unbridled social media.
The survey, which interviewed 1,583 registered voters from Oct. 16 to 18, shows that most of the registered voters (55 percent) say they’ve never heard of QAnon, including 44 percent of Trump supporters. And 59 percent of voters who have heard of QAnon describe it as “an extremist conspiracy theory with no basis in fact.” (The survey has a margin of error of about 4 percent.)
Yet these numbers understate the degree to which awareness and even acceptance of QAnon’s underlying falsehoods have permeated the right, regardless of how many unwitting adherents explicitly realize such fictions originate with QAnon itself.
Trump himself demonstrated this dynamic during his NBC town hall event last Thursday when he refused to disavow the conspiracy theory even after moderator Savannah Guthrie told him that it involves baseless lies about “satanic” Democratic pedophile rings.