PerspectivePopulists far more likely to believe in conspiracy theories

Published 3 May 2019

Populists across the world are significantly more likely to believe in conspiracy theories about vaccinations, global warming and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a landmark global survey. The YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project sheds new light on a section of the world population that appears to have limited faith in scientific experts and representative democracy. Paul Lewis, Sarah Boseley, and Pamela Duncan write in the Guardian that analysis of the survey found the clearest tendency among people with strongly held populist attitudes was a belief in conspiracy theories that were contradicted by science or factual evidence. Why does such a large proportion of the population not believe the scientific evidence? Professor Jonathan Kennedy from Queen Mary University of London answers: “The data shows that this doesn’t seem to have much to do with factors like education, as we might expect. Instead, it is driven by anger and suspicion towards elites and experts that has also resulted in increasing support for anti-establishment political parties across Europe and beyond.”