A sizeable number of Americans agree with the fundamental principle of the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon: that the government and other entities are controlled by Satan-worshipping pedophiles running a child sex trafficking ring, according to a new poll.
The survey was conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, a US-based nonpartisan research group that conducts public opinion polls on a variety of issues.
It reveals that 23 percent of Republicans believe the statement that “the government, media and financial worlds in the US are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.”
That number declines to 14 percent among independents and 8 percent among Democrats.
The countrywide poll also found that 20 percent of Americans believe in another key part of the conspiracy theory, which suggests that “a storm is coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders.”
A total of 28 percent of Republicans surveyed agreed with the statement, compared to 18 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats.
QAnon is a far right-wing, loosely organized network of believers who hold faith in various unsubstantiated beliefs. Several prominent QAnon activists were part of the angry mob that attacked the US Capitol building on Jan. 6.
They consider former US President Donald Trump as their hero, who has obliquely endorsed the conspiracy theory and described QAnon activists as “people who love our country.”
QAnon theory, which came into limelight following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, propounded that Trump was waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping pedophiles in government, business and the media.
They speculated that this fight will lead to a day of reckoning where prominent people such as former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be arrested and executed.
The new poll also found that 15 percent of respondents said that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.”
Twenty-eight percent of Republicans polled said that they agreed with the statement, along with 13 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats.
Approximately 4 in 10 Americans who claim that they trust far-right news outlets like OANN and Newsmax said that they believe the false theory that the government and other institutions are controlled by “Satan-worshipping pedophiles.”
The survey was conducted online between March 8 and March 30 among 5,149 adults in the U.S. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.
The conspiracy first came into light in October 2017, when an anonymous user put a series of posts on the message board 4chan and signed off as "Q". He claimed to have a level of US security approval known as "Q clearance".
These messages later became known as "Q drops" or "breadcrumbs", often written in cryptic language peppered with slogans, pledges and pro-Trump themes.
Although media in the West has sought to downplay it, opinion polls say hundreds of thousands of people in the US believe in some of the most bizarre theories put forth by QAnon.