Conspiracy Theorists: Poll Shows Majority of Democrats Falsely Believe Russia Hacked Election Results

Posted: Jan 03, 2017 10:25 AM

This poll is worth highlighting for a few reasons: (1) It presents an ideal opportunity to reiterate an important factual claim about our electoral process, (2) it allows us to puncture liberals' self-righteousness about conspiracy theories and anti-empiricism being the province of the Right, and (3) it adds useful perspective to the panic over "fake news." Let's start with the data point itself, which comes via YouGov. PPP is famous for asking trollish questions designed to embarrass Republican voters, but as we'll see, neither side is immune from this sort of thing. To quote The Donald's most memorable one-word debate rebuttal, wrong:

There is zero evidence for this whatsoever -- as Democratic elections officials from relevant states, and even President Obama, have categorically rejected these claims. And yet, because many lefties simply can't come to grips with the fact that Trump won, the "hacked election" garbage stubbornly persists.  This is amusing on some level, as every single Democrat in America declared themselves scandalized by Donald Trump's statements that the election was "rigged," and his refusal to guarantee that he'd respect the results -- which Hillary Clinton called "horrifying," and a danger to our democracy.  We later learned that the Clinton campaign was linked to the useless and costly recount push, as well as the electoral college 'coup' plot -- each of which failed hilariously and spectacularly.  Perhaps some respondents in this poll ought to be forgiven for their ignorant beliefs because many in the media have covered the Russian hacking story irresponsibly, conflating Russia's confirmed efforts to influence the process through the penetration and publication of emails with "hacking the election," which did not happen. Here's just one of countless examples of this sort of sloppy and negligent reporting:

You want fake news, there you have it. And it's not a link from some obscure website shared on Facebook; it's a headline from one of the top wire services in the world. May we repeat: The election's vote totals were absolutely not manipulated or altered by Russian hackers.  More than nine in ten Trump voters are tethered to reality on this point, unlike more than half of Democrats.  Incidentally, this same survey asked voters about other conspiracy-style controversies.  A majority of Trump backers agree with the utterly unsupported assertion that "millions" of illegal votes were cast in November (which goes much further than believing voter fraud and irregularities to be a problem), and roughly half of them say it's "probably" true that President Obama was born in Kenya.  He was born in Hawaii.  A slim majority of all Americans believe that there were WMD's in Iraq that the US never found, which YouGov casts as a "conspiracy."  Despite the question's relatively tight wording, I think this one is more borderline, because large caches of yellowcake and chemical weapons were discovered in Iraq after the war.  

Finally, large bipartisan majorities unite to dismiss the unequivocally false conspiracies of vaccines causing autism and the US government having a hand in 9/11.  More Trump voters are inclined to believe the former fable than Clinton supporters, while the opposite is true regarding 9/11 trutherism -- which a staggeringly large percentage of Democrats were willing to indulge during the depths of anti-Bush derangement.  Why, it's almost as if both parties' bases are willing to glom onto unsupported claims that align with what they wish to be true.  In other words, reflexive partisans will often be reflexively partisan.  A bipartisan American tradition.

UPDATEVia Right Sightings, I discussed this on Fox & Friends: