Bob Welch, standing at left, and Jim Dillon, hold a sign at a public hearing about the Jade Helm 15 military training exercise in Bastrop, Texas, Monday April 27, 2015.
Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman (Statesman.com) via AP

Many GOP voters buy into ‘Jade Helm’ conspiracy theory

As the right-wing fringe raises concerns about the “Jade Helm 15” conspiracy theory, it’s only natural to wonder just how many Americans put stock in the nonsense. We know the numbers are significant enough to get policymakers’ attention – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), I’m looking in your direction – but is the paranoia widespread?
 
Right Wing Watch yesterday noted the latest PPP survey, released yesterday, which included some noteworthy results.
A new survey from Public Policy Polling finds that one-third of Republicans believe the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory that “the government is trying to take over Texas,” and another 28 percent of GOP voters haven’t made up their minds yet about the matter.
 
Among Republicans, PPP found that supporters of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were most likely to believe the conspiracy theory…. PPP also found that half of all Tea Party supporters fear an imminent Texas invasion.
That’s not an exaggeration – 50% of self-identified Tea Party members, at least in this poll, said they’re concerned “the government is trying to take over Texas.”
 
Overall, 32% of self-identified Republican primary voters said they believe the conspiracy theory. And while that’s obviously not a majority, it’s still a third of the party’s base, which will choose the GOP’s presidential nominee.
 
Oddly enough, the poll, if accurate, is something of a microcosm of the Republican presidential race itself. Public Policy Polling found, for example, that fewer than one-in-five supporters of Jeb Bush and Christie buy into the conspiracy theory.
 
But as TPM explained, the story is far different for Scott Walker, who “would win the Texas military takeover conspiracy theory vote if the Republican primary were held today.” TPM’s report added that the Wisconsin governor “led the field among those who believed the government was trying to take over Texas.”
 
As best as I can tell, Walker has said nothing about the conspiracy theory, though that apparently doesn’t matter.
 

Conspiracy Theories and Polling

Many GOP voters buy into 'Jade Helm' conspiracy theory