A Skeptical Call To Arms

Rory

Senior Member.
This statement from the article:

On balance, partisanship may influence which conspiracy theories we see, but not how often we are likely to see them.

could be true, I suppose - but having checked the writers' links I didn't really see any great deal of support for it - and perhaps they don't either, given the qualifier "may".

I'd say the idea that "liberals" are just as likely to believe CTs as "conservatives" is still to be proven. But could be quite interesting to investigate.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Will you please tell us what the conspiracy theory is that all the US left fell for.

I am assuming even Mick fell for it?
i didnt say all the US left fell for it.
ALL the US right are not man-made climate change deniers. Plenty of people on the right have gotten the Trump vaccines. etc.

You know in American movies when they are playing poker and the guy says "I'm all in" and pushes all his chips into the pot. It means to embrace an idea or decision whole heartedly.

The "Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election" conspiracy theory.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
This statement from the article:



could be true, I suppose - but having checked the writers' links I didn't really see any great deal of support for it - and perhaps they don't either, given the qualifier "may".

I'd say the idea that "liberals" are just as likely to believe CTs as "conservatives" is still to be proven. But could be quite interesting to investigate.

I'm sure you are right, I concede: liberals are superior beings.
 

LilWabbit

Active Member
The "Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election" conspiracy theory.

Thank you for answering.

Technically it's true the Mueller probe as well as later investigations found no evidence that the Trump campaign engaged in a coordinated conspiracy with the Russian government to steal the elections. To broadcast 'conspiracy' without sound evidential support does qualify a leftist CT. 'Collusion', by the way, is not a legal term like 'conspiring' but it was politically bandied about ad nauseam.

The legal definition of 'conspiring', however, is quite a high mark to satisfy. This is the case despite the Trump campaign having been otherwise demonstrated by both Mueller and the Republican-led senate panel investigations to have had plenty of contacts working for the Russian Federation, and Russian interference in the 2016 being a fact confirmed by the intelligence community.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The legal definition of 'conspiring', however, is quite a high mark to satisfy. This is the case despite the Trump campaign having been otherwise demonstrated by both Mueller and the Republican-led senate panel investigations to have had plenty of contacts working for the Russian Federation, and Russian interference in the 2016 being a fact confirmed by the intelligence community.

i already conceded. You are right. "Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election" is not really a conspiracy theory, because it's true.
 

qed

Senior Member
i already conceded. You are right. "Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election" is not really a conspiracy theory, because it's true.
What do you mean?

We do not know that! Not after the Mueller report.

Before the Mueller report is was rational to suspect or not to suspect. But not after. Unless further evidence comes to light.
 
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LilWabbit

Active Member
i already conceded. You are right. "Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election" is not really a conspiracy theory, because it's true.

'Collusion' implies secret and deceitful cooperation. It may or may not have taken place. There's no hard evidence to support either collusion or conspiracy claims. So don't concede just yet.

For a legal probe (such as the Mueller investigation), an actual law has to be invoked to determine any violation. The relevant law discusses and proscribes 'conspiring' and is quite a loaded term legally. 'Conspiring' criminally, in the Mueller probe, meant 'coordination' with a foreign power which is more than just individuals cooperating. It also required 'criminal intent' to defraud the United States which must be proven. It's a tall order for any prosecutor.

In either case, claims were made on the left that weren't supported by evidence (call it 'conspiring' or 'colluding'). Calling those claims conspiracy theories makes sense, unless and until evidence for criminal conspiracy is unearthed.

What makes this CT a tad 'less kooky' as compared to many others, however, is the fact that Trump campaign personnel were found to be willing targets to Russian operatives, including Mr. Kilimnik (engaging with Manafort). For a CT, therefore, 'Russia-Trump collusion' is not treading too far from the truth, unlike the other ones listed earlier.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
What makes this CT a tad 'less kooky' as compared to many others, however, is the fact that Trump campaign personnel were found to be willing targets to Russian operatives, including Mr. Kilimnik (engaging with Manafort).

yes, i concede that "Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election" is kookier than "Democrats used voter fraud to steal the election" because U.S. election officials had no willing contact with Democrat operatives.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Beyond looking at the usual 'psychological factors' this seems like a good study on "what type of people are prone to belief in conspiracism":

https://www.brookings.edu/techstream/how-media-consumption-patterns-fuel-conspiratorial-thinking/

They surveyed 1,947 US adults - probably about the minimum number you'd want for decent confidence - and found these results:

1627494377448.png

Basically, the biggest indicator was being a "news-finds-me" type of person, followed by social media use, lack of trust in the government, and racial resentment.

According to this study, party identification doesn't really come into it.

Then there's this excellent paper from Karen Douglas of the University of Kent (et al) which says:


Which seems very balanced and, though it posits that the right is probably more prone to conspiracism than the left, it suggests the possibility that other factors have may led to this conclusion - a conclusion which not all studies have agreed upon.

Also, there's this Guardian article which reports on a large-scale worldwide study - 25,000 people across two dozen countries - that found that "populists are significantly more likely to believe in conspiracy theories about vaccinations, global warming and the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

Political scientists said there was reason to expect a close relationship between some conspiracy theories and populism – which typically involves a belief that amoral elites are in cahoots, exploiting ordinary people for their own self-interest.

They also found that voters for rightwing populist parties were far more likely to believe in anti-vaccine conspiracy theories than both non-populists and voters for leftwing populist parties.

The article doesn't mention, however, whether there was any difference in the beliefs of left/right populists with regard to global warming and 9/11.

(All bolding added by me.)
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Basically, the biggest indicator was being a "news-finds-me" type of person, followed by social media use, lack of trust in the government, and racial resentment.

from what they measured. they dont have a category like "trust in capitalism" or "big business", though. or "spiritual beliefs". etc etc

and what does "news finds me" mean..is that like algorithms feeding you more of the same? probably, right?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Also, there's this Guardian article which reports on a large-scale worldwide study - 25,000 people across two dozen countries - that found that "populists are significantly more likely to believe in conspiracy theories about vaccinations, global warming and the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

This thread is about American issues. I just want to note for readers, that all my comments refer to Americans, since that is the thread topic.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
what does "news finds me" mean?


This thread is about American issues. I just want to note for readers, that all my comments refer to Americans, since that is the thread topic.

True. Though the US was one of the countries surveyed and my imagination is that the results didn't vary massively, so thought it safe to include. Would like to see the original data though to confirm.
 
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MikeG

Senior Member.
I haven’t posted for a while but was very happy to see this thread.

To get a better picture of the whole election last year, I volunteered as a poll worker in Pennsylvania and was appointed to be a judge of election.

I went through regular training and oversaw a precinct polling place during the 2020 primaries, the November general election, and this year’s primary. I ran for and was elected to the position of judge of election a few months ago.

There are two things that I learned (for starters):

1. There is a vast difference between a voter “irregularity” and fraud. Poll workers constantly troubleshoot and fix a whole array of problems that regularly occur, from people showing up at the wrong location to not understanding how the voting process works.

2. Thousands of volunteers make this system work. They are not professionals, but they train, prepare, and act in good faith. All the partisan bickering aside, that gives me some hope.

To supplement what I learned through election services training, I found a few good outside sources. The Brennan Center is one of them.
https://www.brennancenter.org/protectelection

Anyway, my two cents.
 

LilWabbit

Active Member
Beyond looking at the usual 'psychological factors' this seems like a good study on "what type of people are prone to belief in conspiracism":

https://www.brookings.edu/techstream/how-media-consumption-patterns-fuel-conspiratorial-thinking/

They surveyed 1,947 US adults - probably about the minimum number you'd want for decent confidence - and found these results:

Thanks @Rory for a useful summary of studies. Especially the Brookings survey and the University of Kent literature review seemed pretty legit. They seem to have been conducted with professionalism, commitment to objectivity whilst admitting to a possible left-leaning bias affecting conclusions (a form of honesty which demonstrates said commitment). The overall conclusion that conspiracy theories thrive in the extremes (on both right and left) is very plausble and consistent with other observations -- both professional and lay.

The situational factor was also an important mention. There are historical fluctuations in political conspiracy-theorizing depending on global, national or local political situations, trends, events and the types of regimes (and even personalities) that happen to be in power, seeking power or losing power at any given time. Also in our social media age political trends and theories, including populist ones, are increasingly global.

Which seems very balanced and, though it posits that the right is probably more prone to conspiracism than the left, it suggests the possibility that other factors have may led to this conclusion - a conclusion which not all studies have agreed upon.

Inconclusivity (i.e. the jury is still out) indeed seems like the correct takeaway from the studies you shared. In our current situation (both globally as well as domestically in the US), anti-vacc, anti-climate change and election fraud CTs are aggressively advanced on the right and in various creative ways that fool many. They are bound to result in right-wingers being, seemingly, more affected by conspiracy theories. Especially if the studies do not properly identify certain commonplace leftist beliefs as legit conspiracy theories. We usually don't admit our own beliefs as CTs while all too quickly denouncing the other guy for theirs.

The surveys should also ask: (1) Do you believe in white heterosexual males clenching onto power in the West and conspiring to bar women and non-whites from top positions (disclaimer: this is not the same as asking whether there are real cases of such self-serving buddyhoods)?; (2) Do you believe in the American military-industrial complex feeding its greed by creating wars around the world; (3) Do you believe in big business conspiring and intent upon sucking the working class dry?

My guess is there would have been much more people answering "yes" on the left than with the current catalogue of CTs featured in the surveys.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The surveys should also ask: (1) Do you believe in white heterosexual males clenching onto power in the West and conspiring to bar women and non-whites from top positions (disclaimer: this is not the same as asking whether there are real cases of such self-serving buddyhoods)?; (2) Do you believe in the American military-industrial complex feeding its greed by creating wars around the world; (3) Do you believe in big business conspiring and intent upon sucking the working class dry?
These are trick questions.
I'd ask these differently:

(1a) Do you believe that white heterosexual males hold onto power and bar women and non-whites from top positions?
(1b) Do you believe that this is a result of a conspiracy, or is it just how the system works?

(2a) Do you believe that, out of greed, the American military-industrial complex is selling/exporting arms into crisis regions?
(2b) Do you believe this creates wars around the world?


(3a) Do you believe that big business is trying to maximize profits and paying workers as little as possible?
(3b) Do you believe that this is a result of a conspiracy, or is it just how the system works?

In my opinion, the stereotypical leftist would answer (1a) yes, (1b) system, (2a) yes, (2b) yes, (3a) yes, (3b) system.

They'd only attribute any of this to a conspiracy if you combined these issues into single questions like you did, where affirming (1) would also mean you say it's a conspiracy, and respondents would do that because they'd think the question was really about (1a) rather than (1b).

Or if they believed there were conspiracies, of course.
(And you seem to be saying that "sometimes it's a conspiracy" is a correct answer to (1b), viz your "real cases of such self-serving buddyhoods"?)

Your issue (2) doesn't even ask about a conspiracy.
 

LilWabbit

Active Member
These are trick questions.
I'd ask these differently:

(1a) Do you believe that white heterosexual males hold onto power and bar women and non-whites from top positions?
(1b) Do you believe that this is a result of a conspiracy, or is it just how the system works?

(2a) Do you believe that, out of greed, the American military-industrial complex is selling/exporting arms into crisis regions?
(2b) Do you believe this creates wars around the world?


(3a) Do you believe that big business is trying to maximize profits and paying workers as little as possible?
(3b) Do you believe that this is a result of a conspiracy, or is it just how the system works?

In my opinion, the stereotypical leftist would answer (1a) yes, (1b) system, (2a) yes, (2b) yes, (3a) yes, (3b) system.

They'd only attribute any of this to a conspiracy if you combined these issues into single questions like you did, where affirming (1) would also mean you say it's a conspiracy, and respondents would do that because they'd think the question was really about (1a) rather than (1b).

Or if they believed there were conspiracies, of course.
(And you seem to be saying that "sometimes it's a conspiracy" is a correct answer to (1b), viz your "real cases of such self-serving buddyhoods"?)

Your issue (2) doesn't even ask about a conspiracy.

They're not trick questions. I'd ask them just the way I formulated. You're overthinking it.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
and oversaw a precinct polling place during the 2020 primaries, the November general election, and this year’s primary

did your polling place team a republican volunteer with a democrat volunteer? I trust my state mostly because all the polling places (we see on the news anyway) team a repub and dem to work together and watch each other.

I think that is the simplest solution to lack of trust in elections.

How many right leaners did you have on your staff? How many left leaners? Did you have equal representation?

Do you personally feel that the excessive mail-in ballots (including those that arrived after election day) made this 2020 election unique, as far as trust in the system?

While i do think the vast vast majority of poll workers work in good faith, was there a way that you could have messed with votes if say you were one in a thousand that wasn't acting in good faith?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
They're not trick questions. I'd ask them just the way I formulated. You're overthinking it.
the "Study" isn't about conspiracies, it is about factors that fuel conspiratorial thinking.

really you'd have to ask them in the same format that the "racial resentment" question was asked. Unfortunately i couldnt find a link to the actual study from Rory's link. or anywhere else.

but looking up "what is racial resentment" ..they might have used this scale, which is just statements and not at all what i would have considered "racial resentment".

and i guess you Agree, somewhat agree, disagree etc.

Article:
The standard racial resentment scale is a list of four statements, with respondents indicating how strongly they agree or disagree with each one:[1]

  • Irish, Italian, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.
  • Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.
  • Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.
  • It's really a matter of some people just not trying hard enough: if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.
In the expanded version, a further two statements are included:[6]

  • Government officials usually pay less attention to a request or complaint from a black person than from a white person
  • Most blacks who receive money from welfare programs could get along without it if they tried

so the questions should be more like:

agree or disagree:
  • Men clench onto power in the West by barring women from top positions
  • white [males] clench onto power in the West by barring People of color from top positions
  • the American military-industrial complex feeds its monetary greed by creating wars around the world
  • big business is only interested in profit, intent upon sucking the working class dry by keeping wages low
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
They're not trick questions. I'd ask them just the way I formulated. You're overthinking it.
I do not think they were consciously trick questions, which may imply intent, but as somebody who started my post-college life working in political consulting, primarily doing polling (I wrote the survey and wrote most of the explanatory supplementary material provided to the client -- fortunately we had a wonderful statistical analysis software package called StatPac GOLD that did the math!) I'll chime in! Based on my experience there, I think Mendel's critique of the questions is pretty much on target, without criticizing your or his motives, which I am in no position to assess.

Were I designing a survey, I'd probably come up with something closer to his question set than yours, but would have to think a bit on whether the "conspiracy or just the way the system works" dichotomy would be intelligible to somebody who believed that conspiracies are secretly running things -- would they not believe that the conspiracy running tings is in fact the system? At the least, I'd need to decide how to instruct the phone bank on how to code folks who say "both" or "it's the same thing." (Yeah, we did it all by phone banks back in the day.) Side note -- asking "which of these is closer to your opinion" is a useful way to avoid people deciding neither option is exactly what they think, with the downside that it does not capture exactly what they think(!) and may miss nuances. Using some "open ended" questions with the respondent providing their own answer rather than choosing from several that you provide helps capture that nuance, but is trickier to code for statistical analysis.

did your polling place team a republican volunteer with a democrat volunteer? I trust my state mostly because all the polling places (we see on the news anyway) team a repub and dem to work together and watch each other.
Here in NC that is the case. Although in some counties finding volunteers from the minority party is difficult, since in some counties the minority party is such a tiny minority, and inclined to keep its head down. Or at least this was the case back in the day when I was working campaigns.

I think that is the simplest solution to lack of trust in elections.
It has been in the past -- current events indicate that there may be nothing that would cause a substantial minority to trust an election that they're candidate did not win. That is hugely worrying. If in the future we see it adopted by both parties, or become a long-term feature of either, we are in trouble.

Do you personally feel that the excessive mail-in ballots (including those that arrived after election day) made this 2020 election unique, as far as trust in the system?
While it self evidently did (I suspect it would not have if the losing candidate had not tried to discredit the system in order to overturn his loss) I don't see that it should have. The concept of "mail in ballots arriving after election day" being at all unusual is a fabrication -- the NUMBERS of mail in ballots was larger, but mail in ballots always continue to come in after election day, and have always been considered as having been cast on the day they were mailed, not the day they get delivered. (With the proviso that states all have their own election rules, of course, and so can set a different date by which a mailed ballot must be dropped in the mail, and a different cut-off date after which ballots that arrive are to late, the counting is over.)

While i do think the vast vast majority of poll workers work in good faith, was there a way that you could have messed with votes if say you were one in a thousand that wasn't acting in good faith?
Back when I was working politics, it would have been very difficult, due to observers and poll workers from all factions overseeing the process. We did have to deal with ballot security issues, they had nothing to do with poll workers or counters and more to do with those outside the official structure trying to inject fake votes into the system -- this was something that required vigilance in case somebody ever found a way to do it in large numbers that would change the result.

The one exception to the general "it was not the election staff that were the problem" rule happened in one of the last paper-ballots-in-an-actual-ballot-box elections here, where in a small mountain county the procedure was to carry ballot boxes to the county seat, where they were opened and counted. This was done by deputy sheriffs with the sheriff being an elected official and often the "political boss" in his county. A ballot box from an outlying precinct never showed up, and as it was a precinct generally supportive of Our Side, but not of the sheriff's side, this was suspicious. Volunteers were sent out to try and find the ballot box. An excited volunteer called in that he had spotted a ballot box tucked into a neighbor's barn, which was recovered and triumphantly carried back to the county seat, where it was opened... and found to be filled with ballots from a previous election! (At the very least, modern election rules and technology at least make it harder to mess about with the votes than "hide the box in a barn somewhere!)
 

JarJar

Member
They surveyed 1,947 US adults - probably about the minimum number you'd want for decent confidence - and found these results:
Pardon my ignorance on what constitutes confidence in polls/surveys, but 1,947 respondents is less than 1/100,000th of 1% of the roughly 209 million adults in the US.
How is such a confidence level calculated?
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I would think Google would be the best bet for an answer to a question like that. I work in survey analysis and I know the sample sizes I like to see for different projects, but as for the equations to work out the percentages and what that actually represents...well, I'm not so sure on those - and also (like my antipathy towards "p-numbers") somewhat sceptical too. But 2,000 seems like a reasonable number for something like this.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
current events indicate that there may be nothing that would cause a substantial minority to trust an election that they're candidate did not win. That is hugely worrying.

my earlier link from WP above said:
Article:
Another 2012 national poll asked about fraud in specific presidential elections. Thirty-seven percent of Democrats believed that “President Bush’s supporters committed significant voter fraud in order to win Ohio in 2004,” compared to 36 percent of Republicans who believe that “President Obama’s supporters committed significant voter fraud in the 2012 presidential election.” Again, not much difference.


so it seems there was always a minority lack of trust, but if i believe the polls now (which i dont really) they are saying like 50% of Repubs don't think Biden is Pres.

The concept of "mail in ballots arriving after election day" being at all unusual is a fabrication

The few states i checked a while back said specifically ballots must be at the polling place election day (aside from military ballots).

I don't see that it should have.
I think the dems would have reacted the same way. i dont think they would have stormed the capital! But the way antifa was acting all year, i could be wrong about that.
but i wouldnt be surprised if 50% felt Trump was not President. That doesnt seem that far off from the 1/3 who it seems, in modern times, to not accept election results.

Article:
According to data from the latest Harvard-Harris poll provided exclusively to The Hill, 68 percent of voters said Democrats have not accepted that Trump won fairly and is a legitimate president.

That figure includes 69 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents and 65 percent of Democrats.

Only four months into Trump’s presidency, Democrats have openly discussed impeachment and have accused the president of colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election,


Article:
A 58 percent majority of Clinton supporters say they accept Trump’s election, while 33 percent do not. Questions about Trump’s victory are passionate — 27 percent of Clinton supporters feel “strongly” he did not win legitimately.

There are sharp racial and gender differences in Clinton supporters’ acceptance of the results. Only 18 percent of whites who supported Clinton say Trump is not the legitimate winner, identical to the public overall, but fully 51 percent of black, Hispanic and other nonwhite Clinton supporters say Trump’s victory was illegitimate. Women who supported Clinton are twice as likely as men to question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory, 42 vs. 21 percent.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Were I designing a survey, I'd probably come up with something closer to his question set than yours, but would have to think a bit on whether the "conspiracy or just the way the system works" dichotomy would be intelligible to somebody who believed that conspiracies are secretly running things -- would they not believe that the conspiracy running tings is in fact the system?
Thank you for your support; that's a fair point.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Pardon my ignorance on what constitutes confidence in polls/surveys, but 1,947 respondents is less than 1/100,000th of 1% of the roughly 209 million adults in the US.
How is such a confidence level calculated?

Generally speaking, with a population as big as this, the sample size calculation might as well assume the population is infinite, because the true ratio you are trying to determine will not change by removing the people you surveyed from the pool.

The confidence you have in your result then depends on how likely your sample is to reflect the actual ratio accurately, and that only depends on how big your sample is, and what the ratio you are trying to determine actually is (and how well your sample actually represents the population; if your sample collection is biased, you'll have a systematic error that you'd need more maths to compensate for.).

There's a wikipedia article on "sample size determination" that delves into the maths, or you could play around with an online sample size calculator to get a feeling for the numbers involved.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Pardon my ignorance on what constitutes confidence in polls/surveys, but 1,947 respondents is less than 1/100,000th of 1% of the roughly 209 million adults in the US.
How is such a confidence level calculated?
Basically way back when, the math geeks who actually signed up for that course in college -that makes most students cringe- called "Probability and statistics" figured out mathematically that a sample size of 1000, regardless of pool size, will give you a margin of error of +/-3%, where as a sample size of 2000 gives you a margin of error of +/-2%.

But yea, if you really need to know how the sausages are made, you'll have to google it. Mendel's link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sample_size_determination



a simple overview:
Article:
In other words, Company X surveys customers and finds that 50 percent of the respondents say its customer service is “very good.” The confidence level is cited as 95 percent plus or minus 3 percent. This information means that if the survey were conducted 100 times, the percentage who say service is “very good” will range between 47 and 53 percent most (95 percent) of the time.
 
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JMartJr

Senior Member
FWIW, we'd do statewide surveys of about 400-500 respondents. It would have been useful to have more when looking at cross-tabulations (how do people that answer Q1 in different ways answer Q2, is their a relationship?) as sometimes the cell size got pretty small, but it was always a tradeoff between bringing smaller subsets of the electorate into better focus vs. the cost of doing so.
 

LilWabbit

Active Member
Were I designing a survey, I'd probably come up with something closer to his question set than yours, but would have to think a bit on whether the "conspiracy or just the way the system works" dichotomy would be intelligible to somebody who believed that conspiracies are secretly running things -- would they not believe that the conspiracy running tings is in fact the system?

In my experience, and as shown in articles such as Patriarchy: The Ultimate Conspiracy; Matriarchy: The Ultimate Solution, the more radical leftists advance claims that go far beyond "systemic" failures. They subscribe to the idea of a deeply-rooted, secretive, wide and sinister collaboration between vested interests to preserve their privileged status. Not just isolated localized cases. Hence it stands to reason to find out how many actually believe in such a way -- that patriarchy, the military-industrial complex and/or profiteering multinational corporations actually 'conspire' within their respective groups and/or between them. Whatever the specific formulation of the survey questions be, they should be simple, open-ended as well as pointed enough to establish the respondent's belief or non-belief in the above. Otherwise it's misleading and ill-suited for a survey that is specifically focused on conspiracy theories.

There is a difference between 'mainstream' leftist beliefs in systemic ills, and the more extreme beliefs that assume evils beyond the system, such as sinister conspiracies. The whole point was to find out how many, on the left, also believe in conspiracy theories. These CTs are extreme versions of the mainstream leftist beliefs @Mendel included in his proposal for a questionnaire. Mainstream beliefs, however, are uninteresting and misleading for a survey on CTs.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
the military-industrial complex

dont forget Rorys link above said:
which i never thought of, but makes sense. This dawned on me with your comment because there are a few youtubers i watch occasionally, they consider themselves 'classic liberals' but basically have turned their backs on the left now.. i would guess in a survey they would pick independent.. anyway they often mention the military-industrial complex stuff.

I personally believe most people choose "independent" because they think it makes them look neutral and evolved, even though they are absolutly lefties or righties.... but for those who actually do not trust either party (and you can't trust either party), it makes sense to me they might be the most prone to conspiracy theories because they might believe cts on both sides. ??

just a thought you reminded me of.
 

LilWabbit

Active Member
dont forget Rorys link above said:
which i never thought of, but makes sense. This dawned on me with your comment because there are a few youtubers i watch occasionally, they consider themselves 'classic liberals' but basically have turned their backs on the left now.. i would guess in a survey they would pick independent.. anyway they often mention the military-industrial complex stuff.

I personally believe most people choose "independent" because they think it makes them look neutral and evolved, even though they are absolutly lefties or righties.... but for those who actually do not trust either party (and you can't trust either party), it makes sense to me they might be the most prone to conspiracy theories because they might believe cts on both sides. ??

just a thought you reminded me of.

Many valid points there. On one hand, some identify as 'independent' to avoid being typecasted and attacked on the basis of conventional party affiliation. On the other hand, as pointed out earlier by many, traditional left wing-right wing divide is simplistic and in many ways outdated.

Globalization-type conspiracy theories, for instance, are advanced both on the extreme left and the extreme right, but in a different way. The former focuses on Western or capitalist imperialism and exploitation of the world's poor, while the latter raises alarm about an impending authoritarian NWO.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Mainstream beliefs, however, are uninteresting and misleading for a survey on CTs.

beliefs can be mainstream and still conspiracy theories (this one comes to mind)
Article:
July 7, 2021·2 min read

Most people in the United States believe that Biden administration officials, and not President Joe Biden, are directing the country's agenda and policy, according to a national poll.

Fifty-seven percent
 

LilWabbit

Active Member
beliefs can be mainstream and still conspiracy theories (this one comes to mind)

This is also true. However, by 'mainstream' I meant 'more moderate'. A misnomer perhaps.

Which brings to another point. The notion of a 'systemic patriarchy in the West' is itself similar to a conspiracy theory in terms of making a lot of assumptions that are not easily demonstrated by evidence. However, it does not automatically assume a conspiracy and hence would be misleading in a CT survey.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
There is a difference between 'mainstream' leftist beliefs in systemic ills, and the more extreme beliefs that assume evils beyond the system, such as sinister conspiracies.... Mainstream beliefs, however, are uninteresting and misleading for a survey on CTs.
I'd disagree in terms of a survey. In terms of a study of CTs, other belief systems are not of interest except as they contrast with the subject of study. In terms of a survey to find out how prevalent CTs are, however, you have to also try to nail down how prevalent NOT believing in CTs is. The risk in designing a survey based only on getting the answers that interest you is that your survey can unconsciously push-poll respondents towards those answers. Which is getting off into the weeds from the point you were making.

My enjoyment of reminiscing about political work and polling, which I miss, is probably leading me to drone on more than is useful -- plus I'm sensing this thread may be injecting some partisan/ideological discord into the the "family" on this site, which I think would be unfotunate. So unless something comes up that seems more important (and more on topic to the thread) than my thoughts on polling, I'm going to try and bow out.

Peace, y'all.
 

LilWabbit

Active Member
I'd disagree in terms of a survey. In terms of a study of CTs, other belief systems are not of interest except as they contrast with the subject of study. In terms of a survey to find out how prevalent CTs are, however, you have to also try to nail down how prevalent NOT believing in CTs is.

I do understand where you are coming from.

In my view that would be taking on a burden to survey more than is necessary in a survey designed to establish prevalence of belief in CTs. It's also an extra burden which the CT studies shared by @Rory didn't seem to take on. Saying this in no wise implies what you or @Mendel suggest is unimportant or irrelevant to the study of CTs. Such surveys could be designed to accompany surveys on CTs. Even if included in the same survey, my guess remains that some less moderate partisans would answer "yes" to the more extreme versions of these theories suggesting conspiracies of vested interests.

As @deirdre touched on, it's fascinating how what used to be 'fringe' seems to be becoming 'mainstream' and what used to be 'moderate mainstream' appears to be increasingly 'fringe'. On both sides of the aisle. Your suggestion of a broader survey could be very informative and valuable in this respect.

The risk in designing a survey based only on getting the answers that interest you is that your survey can unconsciously push-poll respondents towards those answers.

The risk can be minimized by using 5-step agree/disagree scales, as suggested by some on the thread, instead of a binary one. Not that I'm vehemently against a comparative broader poll.

Which is getting off into the weeds from the point you were making.

Thanks for seeing that.

My enjoyment of reminiscing about political work and polling, which I miss, is probably leading me to drone on more than is useful -- plus I'm sensing this thread may be injecting some partisan/ideological discord into the the "family" on this site,

So far it's been far more civil than out there in most social spaces. Kudos to MB!
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
(and more on topic to the thread) than my thoughts on polling

actually the only reason the election reaction requires a thread like this is due to polling. there really weren't that many people at jan 6th and even less that rioted. a miniscule portion of the population mob rioting one day (as horrible as it was) doesn't really equate to "the end of democracy". That comes from the polls. so i personally think a poll segue is ok. plus noone seems to be adding anything to the OP topic for months.

plus I'm sensing this thread may be injecting some partisan/ideological discord into the the "family" on this site,
the whole point of posting a thread like this is stoke political discord. You only commenting more "on topic" isnt going to help alleviate that :)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The concept of "mail in ballots arriving after election day" being at all unusual is a fabrication -- the NUMBERS of mail in ballots was larger, but mail in ballots always continue to come in after election day, and have always been considered as having been cast on the day they were mailed, not the day they get delivered. (With the proviso that states all have their own election rules, of course, and so can set a different date by which a mailed ballot must be dropped in the mail, and a different cut-off date after which ballots that arrive are to late, the counting is over.)
https://ballotpedia.org/Absentee/mail-in_voting_return_deadlines,_2020 has a table that shows 26 States allow mail-in ballots that have been postmarked on election day, or the day before; and the other States required the absentee ballot to be received by election day.

I have been trying to find this information for 2016 for co parison, but had no luck with it.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
26 States allow mail-in ballots that have been postmarked on election day,
that's new.. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands can vote in the election now? but even if we say 24 states, that's more than i thought for 2020.

i'll look to see about 2016 (New York i did not look up because i thought they were still like us.)

NY 2016 and 2012
Article:
The ballot itself must either be personally delivered to the board of elections no later than the close of polls on election day, or postmarked by a governmental postal service not later than the day before the election and received no later than the 7th day after the election.


"the day before the election" is still close enough for me. same concept.
I believe him about N.Carolina so i dont need to look up, and California had "postmarked by" in 2016 too https://web.archive.org/web/2016101...ns/voter-registration/vote-mail/#vote-by-mail

so I concede not unusual. Guess i'm behind the times.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Alabama's current page says
Article:
VOTING DEADLINE
An absentee ballot returned by mail must be received by the Absentee Election Manager no later than noon on election day. If hand-delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business (but no later than 5 p.m.) on the day prior to the election.


so i'm assuming in 2016 they did not use "postmarked by"... but still 3 states (California, ny, north carolina) is good enough for me to say it's not "unusual".


edit: realized i could look at 2017 for alabama..Wayback doesnt have 2016
Article:
VOTING DEADLINE
An absentee ballot returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election and received by the Absentee Election Manager no later than noon on election day. If hand-delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business (but no later than 5 p.m.) on the day prior to the election.


still 3 states minimum are good enough for me.
 
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