One research paper is offering a harsh truth about political conspiracy theorists.
Five college students published “The Effect of Conspiratorial Thinking and Motivated Reasoning on Belief in Election Fraud” in the scientific journal Political Research Quarterly after finding that 62 percent of 1,230 Americans surveyed before the 2012 election believed that if their preferred candidate lost the election, it was because voter fraud was at play. Or as one co-author explained,
“Conspiracy theories are for losers.”
Joseph E. Uscinski of the University of Miami told PsyPost that those “who are on the outside, people who lost, people who lack control, tend to believe in conspiracy theories.” Uscinski went on to explain that the issue is very much bipartisan.
We see this play out in our national debates: when Bush was president, Democrats were the ones propagating the conspiracy theories. They put forward theories about 9/11, war for oil, Halliburton, Cheney, Blackwater, etc. When Obama came to office, those theories became socially and politically inert. The prominent conspiracy theories came from Republicans and were about Obama faking his birth certificate, killing the kids at Sandy Hook, Benghazi, etc.
Uscinski co-authored the study with Jack Edelson of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Alexander Alduncin of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Christopher Krewson of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and James A. Sieja of St. Lawrence University.