The Guardian

Revealed: populists far more likely to believe in conspiracy theories

Largest survey of its kind uncovers suspicion of vaccines in big part of world populationMethodology: How the Guardian analysed YouGov-Cambridge data
The survey found people with strong populist views were almost twice as likely to believe vaccines had harmful effects that were being hidden from the public. Illustration: Guardian Design

Populists across the world are significantly more likely to believe in conspiracy theories about vaccinations, global warming and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a landmark global survey shared exclusively with the Guardian.

The YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project sheds new light on a section of the world population that appears to have limited faith in scientific experts and representative democracy.

Analysis of the survey found the clearest tendency among people with strongly held populist attitudes was a belief in conspiracy theories that were contradicted by science or factual evidence.

The research may go some way towards understanding the success of rightwing populists such as Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, who have , undermined and dismissed fact-based journalism as “fake news”.

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