Americans are worried about the spread of disinformation as belief in COVID-19 and QAnon-related conspiracies attract a substantial minority, poll finds

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A Trump supporters holds up a large QAnon sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on August 2, 2018/ Rick Loomis/Getty Images
  • The NPR/Ipsos poll found that 39% believe that a ‘deep state’ is working against President Donald Trump.
  • A majority of Republicans believe in the deep state conspiracy theory.
  • 40% of Americans believe that China invented COVID-19 in a lab, despite this having been disproven.
  • Americans are worried about the spread of disinformation, the poll found.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

More than one in three Americans believe in the existence of an anti-Trump ‘deep state,’ according to a new poll by NPR/Ipsos.

The poll found that 39% of Americans agree that the deep state, a term used by both the president and QAnon, is actively working to undermine President Donald Trump.

Among white men and rural voters, almost half – 49% – agreed with this statement. A significant 71% of Republicans also thought it to be true.

While no clear definition of the term was presented to poll participants, the so-called ‘deep state’ is usually used in conspiracy theories to denote a shadowy cabal of influential people who manipulate politics and public life.

Participants were also asked about another conspiracy theory – whether a “group of Satan-worshipping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media.” This belief is at the core of QAnon, a discredited far-right conspiracy theory that is popular with some Trump fans.

17% of those interviewed believed this falsehood to be true, while 37% of participants were unsure whether Satanic elites hold sway in American life.

When it comes to COVID-19, 40% believe that the virus was created in a lab by China. This has been disproven.

The poll also found that there are huge partisan divides over who Americans trust. While more Americans trust Joe Biden to Trump (53% to 37%), huge differences are reflected along party lines.

A large majority of Democrats – 87% – trust Biden, whereas only 12% trust Trump. Among Republicans, 76% trust Trump, while only 18% believe what Biden has to say.

Americans are worried about the spread of disinformation, the poll found. More than eight in ten Americans – 83% – expressed their concern about the prevalence of false information. A majority, 54%, reported being very concerned.

In addition to this, 80% said that they were particularly concerned about disinformation relating to the coronavirus and vaccines.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of NPR between December 21 and December 22, involved a sample of 1,115 adults across the US.

The margin of error is 3.3 percentage points.