American Enterprise Institute has conducted a new study that suggests more than a quarter of white evangelicals buy into all or at least part of the QAnon conspiracy that teaches former President Donald Trump is heading up a secret mission to take down an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles made up of leading Democratic leaders, tech billionaires and Hollywood actors. Almost half of all white evangelicals believe the false claim that the January 6 attempted insurrection at the Capitol building was the work of antifa. The survey’s results are a stunning indicator of what anecdotal evidence has long suggested — there is a conspiracy theory problem in white evangelicalism. Nevertheless, big questions remain about the full extent of the problem.
29 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of white evangelicals told AEI that Q is entirely or at least mostly accurate, far and away the most of any faith group surveyed. 15 percent of white mainline Protestants, 18 percent of white Catholics and 12 percent of non-Christians said they believed all or some of the Q conspiracies, in addition to 11 percent of Hispanic Catholics and seven percent of Black Protestants. Still worryingly high numbers across the board for such a troubling conspiracy, but this survey would suggest white evangelicals have the most work to do in uprooting it from their midst.
The false claim that antifa was responsible for the storming of the U.S. Capitol enjoyed even more support among Christian faith groups, with 36 percent of white Catholics, 35 percent of Hispanic Catholics, 33 percent of white mainline Protestants and 25 percent of Black Protestants believing the theory was all or somewhat true. The FBI has found no evidence that antifa was responsible or even present for the insurrection, but the claim has nevertheless been peddled by Christian leaders like Franklin Graham.
White evangelicals are also uniquely likely to believe that the 2020 election was subject to extensive voter fraud (62 percent), President Joe Biden’s win was not legitimate (63 percent) and “Deep State” sabotaged Trump’s presidency (55 percent). These are all false claims, but they have a lot of support among white evangelicals — one of the nation’s most solid voting blocs.
Still, questions linger. Biden’s inauguration threw cold water on one of Q’s central claims: that Trump had a master plan that would lead to the arrest of his political and cultural opponents. That didn’t pan out, which led to no small amount of disillusionment on the Q message boards. But there’s also some suggestion that Q conspiracies may be seeping into the public consciousness without people really know what Q is. In other words, they may believe Q doctrine without knowing that it’s part of QAnon or possibly even ever hearing of it. In their own research on this topic, Ryan Burge and Philip Djupe found that non-denominational Christians were the most likely to believe in QAnon conspiracies, but noted how difficult it can be to study these things.
Read the full study here.