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Conspiracy in Crisis

Representative Surveys on Belief in Conspiracy Theories before and during the Covid-19 Crisis

Conspiracy theories have gained special attention in the Covid-19 crisis. For instance, the impression emerged of a widely held belief in a Covid-19 conspiracy, according to which the virus was fabricated or its danger far exaggerated. Further, it was assumed that belief in conspiracy theories has increased significantly in the course of the Covid-19 crisis. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung investigated both questions in representative surveys.

The Covid-19 pandemic is putting our society under stress in many respects. The pandemic is demanding a lot from people. At the same time, not every measure can be a precise fit due to the limited and dynamically changing state of knowledge. Opposition to the measures for containing the pandemic is therefore little wonder.

The demonstrations against some of the restrictions and regulations imposed due to the Covid-19 crisis should therefore come as no surprise. However, some of the reasons stated by protestors have caused irritation. Doubts were not directed against the appropriateness or proportionality of the measures, but against their rationale: the existence or danger of the pandemic itself. Moreover, conspiracy theorists claim that the pandemic is simply a pretext for achieving other sinister objectives. In short, the justification for rejecting the measures imposed for containing the pandemic can be regarded as a conspiracy theory.

Shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic became a public issue, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung carried out a representative survey on belief in a “conspiracy theory”. A comparison is now possible with another representative survey a few months after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is about two questions: How widespread is the belief in a "corona conspiracy"? And: has belief in conspiracy theories increased significantly with the Covid-19 crisis?

You can find the answers here in the study as a PDF.


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September 6, 2020
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