How much support does QAnon actually have?
James Shanahan, the Dean of the Media School at Indiana University writes in The Conversation this week to explain that it is very challenging to accurately measure this.
It is tempting to dismiss such questions, but it does to one extent matter. If a lot of people truly do buy into it all, then that leads us to the conclusion that a good chunk of the population has gone “bonkers”. As a media specialist, James is the guy who digs into polls to try and get a handle on what is really going on.
So what has he found?
a fair number of people have heard of QAnon – which is not a surprise, given the news coverage – but the number of people who thought its key claims were true may have peaked in December 2020 and may now be closer to smaller preelection levels of support.
That peak he refers to is this …
A December poll of Americans from the polling firm Ipsos asked whether people thought specific QAnon teachings were true and found that 17% thought the core belief was true – that “a group of Satan-worshipping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media.”
To be wholly fair, he does also go on the explain that it all gets quite complicated to truly measure. A great deal depends upon how questions are asked and phrased.
What it does not give us is an understanding of who is simply jumping on a tribal bandwagon and are harmless non-violent cranks, and who has become a radicalised dangerous fanatic willing to act violently.
Of the various points he draws out, this following one is perhaps the most important …
Other recent research tells us that “support for QAnon is meager and stable,” revealing a “vast chasm between news coverage and polling data.”
So far the research hasn’t truly revealed a clear picture of how many QAnon followers there are. But important decisions are now being made about the perceived threats, such as whether there should be a domestic terrorism law, whether the Communications Decency Act should be changed and larger questions about how social media and the public sphere should be regulated.
The big concern here is that there is so much unknown. The decision makers simply do not have enough data to make reasonable evidence-based decisions with.
However, as the various investigations proceed, our understanding will grow.
More QAnon updates in a moment. First a quick primer for those who are not yet sure what QAnon actually is.
Quick QAnon Primer
For those familiar with it all, just skip this bit.
Briefly, QAnon is basically a far-right conspiracy claim that there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule. Trump is regarded as a messiah, God’s chosen man, to scupper their plans.
True believers have terms such as The Storm and The Great Awakening to describe things that they believe are just about to happen. “The Storm” is an anticipated event in which thousands of people, the supposed members of the cabal, will be arrested, possibly sent to Guantanamo Bay prison or face military tribunals, and the U.S. military will brutally take over the country. The result will be the supposed salvation of the Republic and a utopia on earth.
There are several very consistent attributes …
- The actual evidence for any of this is exactly zero
- Anything predicted never happens.
- If you ask a true believer for evidence, none will ever be presented. You will face deflection and will be told to “Do your research” (Tip: It’s their claim, so it is their responsibility to cite evidence. Burden of proof is with them)
For lots more details you will find that the Wikipedia page covers it all rather well.
Moving on, let’s see what else is new in the Q-verse this past week.
The Washington Post reports “With Trump gone, QAnon groups focus fury on attacking coronavirus vaccines“. There they talk about the truly unhinged tone that the Q-verse has adopted. The latest in this merry saga of bullshit-on-steroids is the claim that the vaccines are really all part of a dark nefarious plot to alter your DNA and control you.
FB and Twitter might have clamped down, but over on Telegram we have this …
Videos with names such as “Murder By ‘Vaccine’ — The Evidence Mounts!” and “Doctors and Nurses Giving the coronavirus vaccine Will Be Tried as War Criminals” have been viewed tens of thousands of times after being linked on QAnon-themed channels, including “Q NEWS OFFICIAL TV,” which has more than 50,000 members. Other QAnon groups on Telegram have more than 200,000 members — and endless streams of misinformation about the pandemic.
One homemade video viewed more than 74,000 times alleged, without offering any credible evidence, that tens of millions of people who have been vaccinated are now “superspreaders” of covid-19, which the video calls a “hoax.” It also claims falsely that shots have led to countless deaths and other severe health consequences. (Public health officials, by contrast, have said adverse events have been rare and largely not serious, while producing no known fatalities.)
QAnon has gradually come to encompass an increasingly broad tent of conspiracies, such as fears about jet contrails and 5G wireless technology, as well as antisemitic tropes about shadowy financiers controlling the world. Even clips from Jones, who publicly denounced QAnon in January, have been widely shared on QAnon-themed channels on Telegram.
Hit pause and remember that none of their claims are true. It’s a cult devoted to complete nonsense.
MTG Has Been Bragging – Twitter Pushes back
What is also being reported this week is that her antics on the floor of the house are resulting in more and more of her GOP colleagues getting truly pissed with her. CNN reports (Mar 11)…
What’s becoming increasingly clear as Greene pursues this pointless attention-getting effort is that even many of her Republican colleagues are losing patience with her.
On Thursday, 40 Republicans voted against her motion, the largest number who have done so since she started pulling these stunts on February 24. The last time Greene filed a motion to adjourn (March 3), just 18 Republicans voted against it. Her earlier attempts were opposed by almost no GOPers.
So there’s increasing unhappiness about what she’s doing — although it doesn’t yet extend to the party leadership.
Media Attention 1 – South Park
Media Attention 2 – New QAnon HBO Series coming Mar 21
Alex Jones Quits QAnon
The father of many many batshit crazy conspiracy theories, grifter Alex Jones, has abandoned QAnon in a very public way. Remember, he is also one of the guys who organised the Stop the Steal rally, and spoke to the crowd on Jan 6 before they proceeded to storm the Capitol.
“Because you’re lying! Because you’re full of s***! That’s why! Because every goddamned thing out of you people’s mouths doesn’t come true,” Mr Jones frothed, working himself up into one of his trademark bellicose furies.
“And it’s always, ‘Oh, there’s energy’ and ‘Oh, now we’re done with Trump’. You said he was the messiah! You said he was invincible! You said it was all over, they were all going to Gitmo!
“Now ‘Oh, he’s part of a larger thing of Q.’ I will not suffer your Q people after this! I knew what you were on day one and I know what you are now and I’m sick of it! I’m sick of all these witches and warlocks and pumpkin popsums [sic] and everything… Hahaha… God, sorry… Bye bye Q, I can’t talk to you any more. Jesus Christ. Lord help me. Argh!”
When Alex Jones, the ConspiracyTheorist-in-Chief and devoted Trump sycophant finds your Conspiracy Theory just too absurd, then you know that you truly have gone way off the deep end.
It might of course have something to do with the Feds investigating Alex Jones over his role in Capitol riot, and he needs to be seen to be very much distanced from QAnon for legal stay-out-of-jail reasons. His conspiracy theories might indeed be batshit crazy, but he is not stupid. Instead he is a grifter who can see that QAnon is now too toxic, and that he needs to walk away quickly.
So what happens next with QAnon?
You know the drill.
A prediction for Trump to be back in the White House on a specific date. (It’s apparently March 20 now)
On the day nothing happens, and the goal posts will get moved again. It is usually garnished with a bit of “Ah but that was all False Flag and not really a prediction”, or similar.
Some will grow tired of it all and will quit, but for others that is not what will happen because they have invested too deeply into it emotionally and can’t let go. Some form of the QAnon conspiracy theory will remain deeply embedded in the nation’s culture by simply morphing to incorporate new developments.
QAnon lunacy is most probably here to stay, but the numbers of those involved will shrink down to a tiny lunatic fringe over time, and everybody else will mock them.
Previous QAnon Postings
Here are a few links to some previous QAnon postings.
- QAnon – It is March 5th – Another prediction fails
- Freedom from QAnon Destruction – #QAnon
- QAnon Watch: Evangelical #QAnon – Update Feb 15, 2020
- QAnon Watch: GOP is now GQP- Update Feb 5, 2020
- QAnon Watch: No Day of Reckoning- Update Jan 22, 2020
- QAnon Watch – Update Jan 15, 2020 – Trump Impeachment
- QAnon Watch – Update Jan 8, 2020 – Capitol Riot
- QAnon Watch – Update Dec 30, 2020
- QAnon Watch – Updates Dec 18, 2020
- QAnon Watch – Nov 20, 2020 – #QAnon
- Nov 11 – #QAnon updates – What happens inside the cult now?
- QAnon Watch: 2 Oct Update – #QAnon
- Sep 25 – QAnon watch – a brief update
- Jul 23 – Fake News Update: Twitter Bans 7,000 QAnon accounts