Public Policy Polling has recently reported Republicans are more likely than Democrats to subscribe to government conspiracy theories. However, past polling shows that partisanship often plays a key factor in shaping conspiracy perceptions. For instance, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe conspiracies about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Whereas in PPP’s recent poll, questions asked about the Obama administration found Republicans more likely to subscribe to the conspiracy theories. It should come as little surprise that Democrats are more likely to believe conspiracies when a Republican is president, and visa versa for Republicans when a Democrat is president.
Back in 2009, one of PPP’s own polls even found that Democrats were more likely to believe “President Bush intentionally allowed the 9/11 attacks to take place because he wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East” with 25 percent of Democrats compared to 14 percent of regular Americans. Rasmussen also found in 2007 that 35 percent of Democrats believed George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance compared to 11 percent of Republicans.
Many of the PPP’s recent questions referenced the Obama administration: whether respondents thought the Obama administration was secretly trying to take away everyone’s guns, if Obama was trying to figure out a way to stay in office beyond 2017, and if the US government engages in “false flag” operations.
In sum, either Republicans or Democrats may be more likely to believe government conspiracy theories depending on if the opposing party is in the White House.