How Big a Deal Is QAnon, Anyway?

Brian Cahn/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

I was mulling over QAnon recently, wondering just how many people actually take the crackpot conspiracy theory seriously and approve of it. So I went looking for polls and found two, both conducted during the first half of September. They agree that only about half of Americans have even heard about QAnon, but they differ wildly in their assessment of how many fans it has:

  • NBC News says that 3 percent of respondents are “very or somewhat positive” towards QAnon.
  • Pew Research says that 9.4 percent of respondents think QAnon is “very or somewhat good for the country.”

That’s a big difference. If it’s really 9.4 percent, we have a serious problem. That’s a tenth of the population believing the country is under attack by a deep-state child sex trafficking ring. But if it’s 3 percent—well, that’s just business as usual. You can probably find 3 percent of Americans to support just about any wackadoodle conspiracy theory.

It seems like it might be important to get a firmer grip on this, especially since President Trump has recently praised QAnon and at least two Republican candidates for Congress have endorsed it, even as the FBI has identified it as a domestic terrorism threat. If QAnon is truly going mainstream, as Ali Breland wrote for us recently, it deserves some serious attention. On the other hand, if it’s still a fringe theory that’s just having its 15 minutes in the sun, maybe it’s not worth worrying about so much.

But which is it?

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate