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Half of Donald Trump's supporters BELIEVE QAnon's bizarre central claim

A new poll in the wake of President Trump's refusal to denounce QAnon shows that half of his supporters believe a bizarre conspiracy claim that Trump is working to shut down a secret Democratic-run pedophilia ring. 

The results, contained in a Yahoo News / YouGov poll, comes after Trump clashed in a town hall forum when interviewer Savannah Guthrie invited him to condemn the group and its bizarre theory. 

It reveals the potential political pressure the president believes he is facing, with many of his supporters subscribing to a bizarre idea he refused to denounce. 

A 55 per cent majority of voters have still not heard of the group, according to the poll. 

'I know nothing about QAnon,' Trump said at the town hall when asked to condemn their conspiracies

And among all registered voters, a vast majority do not subscribe to its bizarre view about a secret child sex ring, 51 to 25.

But it is another matter when examining Trump supporters. Among them, a full 50 per cent believe the idea, according to the survey, with 17 per cent saying they don't believe it and a third 'not sure.' 

By contrast, just 5 per cent of Joe Biden voters believe the claim. 

'I know nothing about QAnon,' Trump said at the town hall when asked to condemn their conspiracies 

Half of Trump supporters said they believe in an elite child-trafficking ring, a central conspiracy theory of QAnon followers, according to a new poll

MANKATO, MN - AUGUST 17: Kim Harty (C) holds a Q Anon sign outside Mankato Regional Airport as President Donald Trump makes a campaign stop on August 17, 2020 in Mankato, Minnesota. Trump spoke at the airport before continuing on to a campaign stop in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

A Trump supporter carries a Q Anon flag while attending a rally for the Proud Boys at Delta Park Vanport on September 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon

US President Donald Trump speaks with audience members after participating in an NBC News town hall event at the Perez Art Museum in Miami on October 15, 2020, where he said he knows 'nothing' about QAnon

The Q-Anon conspiracy theorists hold signs during the protest at the State Capitol in Salem, Oregon, United States on May 2, 2020

There are different results when people are asked about the group by name. Among those Trump supporters who have heard of it, percent call it an extremist conspiracy theory with no basis in fact, while 22 per cent say it 'goes too far.'

It is when the question is asked without mention of the group's name that Trump supporters give its central idea such strong support.

The president didn't do much to bat down the idea when asked about it at his town hall interview on NBC with Savannah Guthrie.  

'I wanted to ask you about QAnon – it is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring, and you are the savior of that. Now can you just, once and for all, state that that is completely not true. So disavow QAnon in its entirety,' Guthrie asked him in a contentious exchange with the president.

'I know nothing about QAnon. I know very little,' Trump claimed, although he has retweeted QAnon information multiple times and backed GOP candidates with QAnon links.

'I just told you,' she pressed.

'You told me, but what you tell me doesn't necessarily make it fact – I hate to say that,' Trump pushed back. 'I know nothing about it. I know they are very much against pedophilia, they fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it' – he said, appearing to applaud at least part of its worldview.

Guthrie tried another approach by inciting remarks from Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska – who in the past has clashed with Trump.

'Republican Senator Ben Sasse said quote QAnon is nuts and real leaders call conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories,' she said.

'He may be right,' Trump conceded.

'Why not just say it's crazy and not true?' she asked of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

'Can I be honest, he may be right. I just don't know about QAnon,' Trump repeated.

'You do know,' she claimed.

'I don't know. You tell me all about it,' he said. 'Let's waste the whole show. You started off with White Supremacy, I denounce it. You start off with something else. Let's go, keep asking me these questions.'

'But let me just tell you, what I do hear about it is they are very strongly against pedophilia. And I agree with that. I mean, I do agree with that and I agree with it strongly,' he said.

Thirty-eight per cent of Trump voters, compared to 24 percent of Joe Biden voters, report coming across posts or emails about child sex trafficking.

The issue bubbled up in the 2016 elections amid bizarre and false claims of a Democratic child sex ring being run out of the basement of a pizza parlor. 

QAnon has gained traction recently as some candidates, including a Republican U.S. congressional candidate from Georgia, have won their primaries – and others within the party have come out in favor of the conspiracy group.

Most recently, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have begun campaigns to crack down on the spread of QAnon conspiracies on their social media platforms. It started with Twitter announcing earlier this month that it would block all content related to QAnon, not just those that incite physical harm or violence.

QAnon fashions President Trump as a secret warrior against this supposed child-trafficking ring allegedly run by celebrities and government officials.

WHAT IS QANON?

Origins: Q Anon started on fringe website 4chan, where a poster calling themselves Q left messages claiming to be a senior federal official and purporting to reveal a 'deep state' cabal intent on bringing down Donald Trump. Q grew out of the discredited Pizzagate conspiracy that top Democrats were involved in pedophilia and cannibalism from the basement of a Washington D.C. restaurant, but quickly picked up steam with 'Q' leaving 'clues' and claims that Trump was going to bring down the deep state. Whenever the conspiracies turn out to not be true, followers rationalize that the inaccuracies are part of Q’s larger plan.

Who is Q?: There may now be multiple people posing as Q on the anonymous 4chan boards

A QAnon believer blocked the bridge near Hoover Dam with a homemade armored tank in the name of the movement, and later pleaded guilty to terrorism 

Hoover Dam: In June 2019, 32-year-old Matthew Wright, a QAnon supporter, blocked the bridge near Hoover Dam in Arizona with a homemade armored vehicle in a 90-minute stand-off. He pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and has written two letters to Donald Trump from jail, which include the sign-off, which has become the QAnon motto: “For where we go one, we go all.”

Michael Flynn: Trump’s former national security adviser became a martyr figure for QAnon believers after he took a plea deal from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, admitting he lied about his Russia contacts. QAnon conspiracy have spun Flynn pleading guilty into him being a persecuted victim of the deep state – and some even claim he is ‘Q.’

Many believers put three star emojis next to their Twitter handles. But the retired three-star general has denounced any connections to the group and pulled out of participating in an event after finding out it was hosted by a QAnon believer.

QAnon believers make former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn out to be a martyr after taking a plea deal with Robert Mueller

QAnon Political Candidates: Jo Rae Perkins, 64, won the Republican primary in Oregon in May to run for a Senate seat against incumbent Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley. “I stand with Q and the team,” she said when asked about her interest in the group. She insisted she goes to QAnon message boards as a “source of information” and claims media focuses too much on the group. Perkins won 49 per cent of the vote against three other Republicans.

Marjorie Taylor Greene came in first place in the Republican primary in a deep-red Georgia district, and will enter an August runoff. She has admitted to believing in several QAnon conspiracy theories.

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