New research helps to explain why the belief in election fraud is common in the United States, even though research has failed to find convincing evidence that it is a problem.
The study, published in the scientific journal Political Research Quarterly, found evidence that conspiratorial thinking and motivated partisan reasoning both have a strong influence on the belief in election-related conspiracy theories.
“My coauthor, Joseph Parent, came to me with the idea of studying conspiracy theories,” said Joseph E. Uscinski of the University of Miami.
“When we got into it, there had been little systematic analysis of why people believed conspiracy theories, and what the consequences of those beliefs were.
I have remained interested in the topic because it is a fun one to study most importantly, but also because it is so relevant to our current politics.”
The researchers used a survey of 1,230 Americans, conducted before and after the 2012 presidential election, to examine why some people believed widespread fraud had swung the outcome.