The two most monumental events of the last year in the US were the election of Joe Biden to the presidency and the introduction of Covid-19 vaccines. Yet there are those who falsely believe Biden won only because of fraud or that they shouldn’t get a vaccine.
Having either belief is dangerous – for either the health of society or the health of the republic. It turns out that about half the people in this country either have doubts about Biden’s legitimacy or have not gotten the vaccine.
Take a look at the most recent Monmouth University poll, one of the few to ask about both people’s vaccine status and how they view the 2020 election result.
Not having received a vaccine was a minority position, at 34%, at the time of the poll in mid-June. Thinking Biden won only because of fraud was a minority position at 32%.
But that third of the electorate for both positions is not the same third.
About 36% of adults who falsely think Biden won only because of fraud have, in fact, received a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
This means that when you do the math, only about half (51%) of adults had received a vaccine dose and think Biden won the election fair and square. A slightly lower 45% haven’t received a vaccine dose or think Biden didn’t win fair and square. (An additional 4% have gotten a dose and aren’t sure if Biden won legitimately.)
It turns out that we’re not just a 50-50 country when it comes to elections – we’re a 50-50 country when it comes to belief in science and truth about this election.
This isn’t to say that believing a conspiracy theory about the election and not having gotten a dose of the vaccine aren’t correlated. They are. The Monmouth poll showed that 64% of people who falsely think that Biden won because of voter fraud also have not received a vaccine dose.
Indeed, a lot of this breaks into partisan camps.
Most Democrats in this poll (and others) have either received a vaccine dose (83%) or think Biden won fair and square (90%).
Likewise, a lot of Republicans haven’t gotten a vaccine dose (40% in this poll and closer to 50% in other polls) or believe Biden won due to voter fraud (57%).
Still, these percentages are not uniform within each party. There is some not insignificant portion of Democrats who have doubts concerning the vaccine, and a significant proportion of Republicans who have gotten the vaccine or think Biden won fair and square.
Former President Donald Trump, for example, is a big promoter of false conspiracy theories about the election but he actually has gotten the vaccine and has urged others to get vaccinated.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a good portion of the country either doesn’t want a vaccine or doesn’t believe that Biden won legitimately.
A 2014 study from the University of Chicago looked across a bunch of conspiracy theories and found that 50% of Americans believed at least one of them to be true.
Many Americans believed and still believe that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in killing President John Kennedy.
The difference between most other conspiracy theories and doubts about Biden’s election and the vaccine is that you have a lot of powerful people arguing against taking the vaccine and pushing the false belief that Biden’s win wasn’t legitimate.
Most of them are Republicans. You have Republican members of Congress pushing false claims about the vaccine. More than half the Republican House caucus voted to throw out the electoral votes from at least one state.
These conspiracy theories aren’t anything like believing the moon landing was fake.
The conspiracy theories about the vaccine and the election have had deadly consequences this year.