Ah, I guess we’ve reached that stage, haven’t we? We've already learned that conspiracy theorists want to feel somewhat more unique than their rational counterparts. Now, it also turns out they’re more likely to be “losers”.
But wait! Let’s clarify here. We’re not talking about the derogatory form of the word losers. Rather, the study notes that people whose candidate loses an election are more likely to turn to conspiracy theories. Ah!
This is based on a new study in the journal Political Research Quarterly that looked at the behavior of people before and after an election. Led by Jack Edelson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the researchers used a survey of 1,230 Americans, which was conducted before and after the 2012 US presidential election. So, not Trump.
The findings were quite interesting. Prior to the election, 62 percent of people said that if their candidate lost, they thought voter fraud would be involved. But after the election, only 39 percent believed the same. Obama, of course, won that election, so Republicans were more likely to think that some sort of voter manipulation was at play.
What's more, people who were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories predicted that if their candidate lost, it would be partially because of voter fraud.
“Conspiracy theories are for losers,” co-author Joseph Uscinski from the University of Miami told PsyPost. “Conspiracy theories follow the ebb and flow of power and losers tend to propagate them the most.”
Now, following Trump’s victory, the cries of voter fraud are coming from the left. To us, things seem a bit different this time around though. Republicans in 2012 cried foul when certain districts appeared to show 100 percent of their vote went to Obama.
There was a good reason for this though, namely that some of these districts had voter turnouts as low as 139 in heavily Democrat-supporting areas. No evidence of election rigging has ever been found.
Compare that to now, and there are a lot of rather unnerving signs that Russia played a role in Trump’s election. Investigations are still ongoing, but looking at these two elections together might not be the fairest comparison.
Two separate studies in August found that people who believed in conspiracy theories did so because they wanted to feel unique. Maybe, after their candidate has lost an election, that desire is greater than ever.