I am not very familiar with QAnon. From the little research I’ve done, it seems that QAnon is well known. However, this Washington Post article says otherwise. It claims that 42% of people polled don’t know enough about QAnon to rate their feelings about it, and of those who did rate it, the average score was only 24/100. I was very surprised to learn this, especially because the amount of media exposure it gets should spread QAnon to more people. In addition, it’s easy to find loyal Q supporters like those in the media.
I decided to look at the comments to see what other people thought of the article, and to no surprise was met with people angrily disagreeing with the article’s claims. Reading through, I couldn’t tell if people in the comments are just Q supporters who are angry that its said their theory isn’t as popular as they think I is, or if this article is actually spreading misinformation. Some people make valid points that the sample size is pretty small, and it’s only from people in Florida, so it’s not representative of the population. However, most comments sounds like the writer was offended by the article, and they were trying to defend QAnon’s validity.
This support got me wondering: Who is supporting this and why? Looking at the details of the QAnon theory, it’s easy for me to say that its absurd. However, as our second reading states, the QAnon theory has caught on for a reason. It suggests that we take a more in depth look as to why people believe before we dismiss people as crazy, so that’s what I attempted to do. A Bing search of “why people believe in conspiracy theories” led me to this article, that says people of all political parties, age, gender, occupation, etc. believe in conspiracies equally. These parameters determine which conspiracies people will most likely follow, not their likelihood of following one. Education level is a slight factor in determining who believes in conspiracies, but the most relevant factor is a person’s predisposition for believing a conspiracy in the first place. Our natural curiosity, skepticism, and need to form connections fosters the mindset needed for conspiracy theories to take hold, and some of us are simply more predisposed than others.
A study done by Vox found that those on reddit posting about QAnon, were also followers of the conspiracy subreddit. Therefore, those who support QAnon most likely just support conspiracy theories in general, and this one happened to catch their interest. This study also explains why QAnon appears to have such a large following even though plenty of people don’t know what it is. The thousands of casual followers give the group its size, but only a few hundred are the ones actually driving the conspiracy.