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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Myths, Misinformation, and Public Opinion

Kathy Frankovic writes about a new YouGov survey:
[Even] after the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that Russia was responsible for the leaks of damaging information from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign and that the hacking was done to help Donald Trump win the Presidency, only one in five say that is definitely true, about the same percentage as believe it is definitely not true. A majority is in the middle.
Once a story is believed, it also seems to stay believed. Donald Trump may have proclaimed that President Obama was born in the United States (having doubted that for years), but half of his supporters still think that it is at least probably true that the President was born in Kenya. And in the U.S. as a whole, a majority believes that in 2003, when the United States invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that the U.S. never found.

Half of Clinton’s voters think Russia even hacked the Election Day votes (only 9% of Trump voters give that any credibility at all). Six in ten Trump voters believe there were millions of illegal votes cast on election day. One in four Clinton voters agree with that, though it’s likely that the illegal votes Clinton voters think were cast were quite different from the illegal votes Trump voters see. In an Economist/YouGov Poll conducted a few days after the election, just 2% of those who voted on Election Day said they saw any ineligible voters trying to cast a ballot (and there was almost no difference in the proportion of Clinton supporters and Trump supporters saying this).