Rural West leads the nation in conspiracy believers

Brief by Central Staff

Rural West – January 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

One nice thing about the recent election is that Central Colorado’s population is so dispersed that the pollsters don’t bother to sample and predict local political races.

But the Gallup Organization did look at the rural West in general when it surveyed 2,047 adults for a study called “The State of Disunion,” arranged by James D. Hunter, a professor in Virginia and author of The Culture Wars.

Hunter concluded that “Those who are most worried, upset, and angry about America in general — indeed, those with the most negative sentiments all around — are the white, well-educated middle classes who are most prominently from small towns in the East Central states and the West.”

The West has the most discontent with “the governing elite,” he noted.

Hunter went beyond distrust of government to seek just how much people view government in hostile terms. “Of the two-thirds to three-quarters of Americans who generally suspect that the government is run by selfish, big interests, only a minority repeatedly expresses unequivocal conspiratorial allegations.

“Still, one-quarter of the population repeatedly express the conviction that the government is run by a conspiracy.” And, these views are held mostly strongly by people living in towns of less than 10,000 in the West.

Well, we qualify on that count, as well as being white and somewhat middle-class and educated. But our distrust of government is such that we generally see it as too inept to run a secret conspiracy.

To put it another way: What secrets have the Feds kept? Iran- Contra? The CIA and drug involvement? Presidential indiscretions?

Clearly, the pernicious influences on our government are not hidden and clandestine — the lists of campaign contributors are a matter of public record.