1 in 10 people in the Netherlands believe coronavirus conspiracies
A new study has found that one in 10 people in the Netherlands believe at least one of the coronavirus conspiracy theories.
Kieskompas conspiracy study
The study, carried out by voting advice website Kieskompas, asked 8.000 participants for their thoughts on a number of popular coronavirus conspiracy theories, and whether they believed the virus was being used as part of a larger plot against humanity.
Kieskompas found that around 10 percent of people in the Netherlands believe something isn’t quite right about the whole coronavirus crisis, and that supporters of right-leaning political parties were more likely to believe the conspiracies.
How believable are coronavirus conspiracies?
One of the most popular theories was that pharmaceutical companies purposefully develop and spread diseases and viruses, such as COVID-19, so that people buy their medicines. 8,4 percent of survey participants found this theory believable.
Another theory that proved popular among respondents was that the Chinese government has created the virus to damage western economies, allowing China to have the strongest economy in the world. 8,5 percent of respondents believed this to be true. And 5,6 percent of respondents believed that any future coronavirus vaccine would be used to inject members of the public with electronic chips so that they could be continuously monitored.
A very small percentage of respondents - 2,5 percent - believed the coronavirus is being used to mask the effects of 5G towers. A further 2,5 percent believed the virus was a form of punishment from God.
Political extremists more likely to buy into conspiracy theories
According to the researchers involved in the study, extremists on either side of the political spectrum were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. André Krouwel, political scientist and founder Kieskompas, said there was more support among right-wing voters: “The far-right people distrust all governments, while the left believes in a certain shapeability of society. On the left, science is also trusted a little more.”
Of the people who voted for Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) in 2017, 22 percent believed a vaccine would be used as a way of implanting people with chips. 20 percent of voters for the Reformed Political Party (SGP) agreed. Outside of the four most extreme parties - PVV, SGP, Forum for Democracy, and Socialist Party (SP) - there was hardly any support for conspiracy theories to be found.
On the whole, the survey did find that a large majority of people in the Netherlands see no truth in coronavirus conspiracy theories, however, Krouwel believed it would be dangerous to disregard the views of the minority: “It's okay if 40 percent think the assassination of US President Kennedy was a conspiracy. But things are different in a pandemic. Then, 10 percent is a substantial group that can undermine public health... And, with Covid-19, you see that if too many people do not follow the rules, the number of infections increases.”