The conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen because of widespread voter fraud has become so accepted within the Republican party that a new poll found conservatives are now more likely to believe in it than even QAnon followers.
A new Morning Consult poll tracking right-wing authoritarian beliefs, published Monday, morning found that 64% of self-identified conservatives believe that President Joe Biden only won because of widespread voter fraud, slightly more than the 63% of QAnon supporters who believe that conspiracy.
It’s important to remember at this point what QAnon followers do believe: That former President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a shadowy group known as the “deep state” who are protecting a group of Democratic and Hollywood elites running a secret child sex trafficking ring for the purposes of harvesting a chemical from the children’s blood to prolong their lives.
The election fraud theory has its origins in the QAnon online fever swamp, and the anonymous poster known as Q pushed it for months prior to the election. But in the wake of Trump’s loss in November it has become mainstream GOP orthodoxy, pushed by Republican leaders and the former president himself.
Now, five months after Biden’s inauguration, the conspiracy persists, in part thanks to the bogus audit currently taking place in Arizona. The audit is being watched closely by Trump, who has reportedly told aides that he believes he will be back in the White House by August.
The hype around the audit and conspiracies about Trump’s return to office have become so loud that last week Department of Homeland Security officials briefed lawmakers on their concerns that the conspiracy could spark violence among extremist groups, according to sources speaking to Politico.
At his first post-election rally on Saturday night in Wellington, Ohio, the election fraud conspiracy theory was a major part of Trump’s speech.
Trump called the election “the crime of the century” and said, “the 2020 presidential election was rigged. We won the election in a landslide. You know it, I know it. And you know who else knows it? The fake news knows it.”
The crowd reacted by chanting: “Trump won! Trump won! Trump won!”
And last week, the Department of Justice announced that because there’s been such a spike in violent threats against election officials following the 2020 election, it is creating a special task force to investigate and prosecute these crimes.
The poll found that conservatives were slightly less likely than QAnon followers to believe that GOP officials who don’t support the election fraud conspiracy were part of the cover-up (61% versus 66%). And while a much larger proportion of QAnon followers believed that Trump should have refused to leave office in January (46%), there are still more than a third of conservatives (36%) who also say Trump should not have left.
The poll, which was conducted at the end of April, was sparked by the Capitol riots and the troubling image of a man in a sweatshirt that said “Camp Auschwitz: Work Brings Freedom” — a reference to the eponymous Nazi extermination camp and its infamous motto, “Arbeit Macht Frei.”
As a result the poll looked at the links between the QAnon conspiracy movement that played a major role in the Capitol riot, and its links to antisemitism. The survey found that while not all of those who say they believe in QAnon conspiracies are antisemites, there is a very large overlap.
The poll found that almost half of those who believe in QAnon conspiracies also believe in the contents of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a work of Russian antisemitic propaganda first published in 1903 that claimed a secretive group of Jews was plotting to take over the world.
“Although we wouldn’t say initially that QAnon had antisemitic tropes, very quickly it became apparent that there was a strain within QAnon belief that articulated some of these very clearly antisemitic tropes,” Joanna Mendelson, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told Morning Consult.
More specifically, QAnon adherents “identify Jewish control of the media, the banks and the government as being behind the Deep State, helping to manipulate the levers of society and undermine trust.”