"These are words I never thought I would write into a poll question, or have the need to, but here we are," says pollster Robby Jones. A new poll from the nonprofit he founded, the Public Religion Research Institute, found that 15% of Americans agree with the core belief of QAnon: "The government, media, and financial worlds in the US are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation." The same proportion felt that "true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country," while 20% believe a "storm" is coming that will "restore the rightful leaders." Jones says the number of believers in QAnon principles adds up to more than 30 million people. Some 14% of Americans—and 23% of Republicans—agreed with all three statements and were classed as QAnon believers.
"If it were a religion, it would be as big as all white evangelical Protestants, or all white mainline Protestants," Jones tells the New York Times. He says the number of adherents is especially worrying because QAnon "beliefs are linked to a kind of apocalyptic thinking and violence." The groups most likely to be QAnon believers include those who trust far-right news sources, Protestants, and those without a college education. The poll classed 40% of Americans—55% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats—as "QAnon doubters" who don't fully believe in QAnon principles but don't completely reject them. Believers were also more likely to believe other conspiracy theories, with 40% saying they believe the COVID vaccine "contains a surveillance microchip that is the sign of the beast in biblical prophecy." (Read more QAnon stories.)