I'm asking in relation to a recent question Why does it seem like US conspiracy theorists are overwhelmingly Republican-oriented?

This question takes the presumption that conservative CT (conspiracy theories) are more common than democratic ones. Many answers and comments debated this presumption. Thus I wanted to ask two, closely related, questions which came up as a result of that question but that I feel have not been adequately addressed in any of it's answers.

  1. Are conservative conspiracy theories more common then liberal conspiracy theories? This is by it's nature harder to define, as what makes a theory 'conservative' or 'liberal' is very subjective. Thus I'll add a potentially easier to answer, but closely related, question

  2. Are Conservatives more, or less, likely to believe in CTs then liberals?

In both cases I'm looking for scientific evidence, not random cherry picked examples. I'd like an independent study, or studies, that attempts to objectively define and measure these values across a large sample group.

For the propose of this question I'd define a CT fitting under at least one of two below categories:

  1. A belief in a theory that the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence has proven to be false or implausible.
  2. A belief in actions being due to a hidden conspiracy of individuals. specifically when that conspiracy would have to be unusually wide reaching and require a(n implausibly) massive number of individuals collaborating in the conspiracy to keep it secret and functional.
  • 1
    I think this is a good question to ask you and I’m glad someone did so. I have 2 concerns about definitions here: 1) since this is for the US, by liberal and conservative, do you mean Democrats and Republicans? How far to the extreme left or right do you have to get to ignore them as crazy extremists?
    – divibisan
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 16:41
  • 2. I think the second category is required for a CT. Just being wrong is not a conspiracy theory, and if there’s no conspiracy it’s not a CT. The first category, is hard since most CTs deal with things outside of scientific evidence. The JFK assassination, for example, isn’t a question of scientific evidence. I might make that point a about how overwhelming evidence against it is fully ignored
    – divibisan
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 16:45
  • @divibisan generally conservative mean republican and liberal mean democrat, but I feel conservative and liberal terms are a little more open ended. For instance I could be registered as an independent but have strong conservative or liberal leanings. Or I could be part of some smaller third party that is even more extreme the republican/democrat views on their respective side. So I stuck with the slightly more open ended definition, I would be more then happy to accept evidence for republics vs democrats as evidence for conservatives vs liberals though.
    – dsollen
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 16:53
  • My answer to the linked question contains a link to a study (as well as a Vox.com article that summarized it, but I don't think you'd consider Vox.com to be independent and unbiased).
    – Barmar
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 16:54
  • 1
    @divibisan I think the point of the first category is things like "flat earth" and "vaccines cause autism" theories.
    – Barmar
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


An investigation involving 5000+ adults has been conducted, this is their summary.

Results reveal that conservatives in the United States were not only more likely than liberals to endorse specific conspiracy theories, but they were also more likely to espouse conspiratorial worldviews in general (r = .27, 95% CI: .24, .30). Importantly, extreme conservatives were significantly more likely to engage in conspiratorial thinking than extreme liberals (Hedges' g = .77, SE = .07, p < .001). The relationship between ideology and conspiratorial thinking was mediated by a strong distrust of officialdom and paranoid ideation, both of which were higher among conservatives, consistent with Hofstadter's account of the paranoid style in American politics.


  • Given when the study was conducted, and what they defined as being a belief in a conspiracy theory, e.g. non-belief in global warming, it's not too surprising the result they've got. I mean if the [then] commander-in-chief Trump, said global warming was a Chinese hoax or some such... (The q they had on that was only slightly different, whether it was a "UN hoax".) Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 11:46

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