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August 13, 2022
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INSCOP survey: Over 65% of Romanians believe that the COVID-19 pandemic was caused by global elites to impose control over the world’s population

About  two-thirds of Romanians believe that the COVID-19 pandemic was caused by global elites to impose control over the world’s population, and less than a third believe that it occurred naturally as it happened with other pandemics in human history, according to an INSCOP survey conducted in January.

The survey shows that 65.7% of Romanians believe that the COVID-19 pandemic was caused by global elites to impose control over the world’s population, 28.4% that it occurred naturally as it did with other pandemics in human history, and 5.9% do not know or did not answer.

According to the research, 28.5% of respondents believe that there is a global plan for implantation of chips by vaccination, while 66% reject this theory, and 5.5% do not know or did not answer.

The majority of respondents (54.7%) consider that in recent months they have been exposed to fake news or misinformation to a very large extent (compared to 55.6% in September 2021, 50.1% in June 2021 and 55% in March 2021), and 41.8% that they were exposed to a small or very small extent / not at all (compared to 40.8% in September 2021, 45.6% in June 2021 and 42.6% in March 2021). 3.6% do not know or do not answer this question (compared to 3.6% in September 2021, 4.3% in June 2021 and 2.5% in March 2021).

The survey also shows that 27.3% of Romanians believe that Russia is the main source of propaganda, misinformation and fake news in Romania (compared to 18.1% in September 2021, 25.2% in June 2021, 24% in March 2021). The European Union is seen as the main source of propaganda, misinformation and fake news in Romania by 17% of respondents (compared to 18.5% in September 2021, 13.8% in June 2021, 18.5% in March 2021 ), a short distance from China regarded as such by 17.7% of respondents (compared to 14.3% in September 2021, 12.2% in June 2021, 14.9% in March 2021). It is followed by Hungary with 5.4% (compared to 6.9% in September 2021, 8% in June 2021, 9.2% in March 2021), the USA with 4.9% (compared to 7.3% in September 2021, 7.9% in June 2021, 9.2% in March 2021) and Germany with 3.8% (compared to 2.2% in September 2021, 3.5% in June 2021, 3.3% in March 2021). 1% of those surveyed consider that another country supports such actions in Romania (compared to 2.7% in September 2021, 2.1% in June 2021, 1.6% in March 2021), and 23% do not know or have no answer (compared to 30% in September 2021, 27.3% in June 2021, 19.4% in March 2021).

Remus Stefureac, president of Strategic Thinking Group, points out that, regarding the vulnerability of Romanians to misinformation, there are worrying answers regarding two types of conspiracies widely circulated in the last two years.

“Thus, just over a quarter of Romanians believe that there is a global plan for implanting chips by vaccination, and almost two-thirds believe that the pandemic was caused by global elites to impose control over the world’s population. This latest figure does not reflect a denial of the pandemic and its serious effects, but the temptation of a very large part of the population for conspiratorial interpretations, fueled by misinformation, fake news, some spread even by various influential voices in Romania or in the world, to the detriment of reasonable explanations, accepted by the scientific community regarding the natural causes of the COVID-19 virus,” says Stefureac.

Dan Andronache, Vice President of True Story Project (TSP), points out that the perception of the conspiratorial dimension of global control is stronger among the rural, primary school graduated and low-income segment of the rural population, but paradoxically, when it comes to the topic of the COVID pandemic cause, the share of the population that believes in this scenario extends not only among those in urban areas with secondary education, but also among the population with higher education and high incomes.

“This underscores the possible emotional fragility caused by the abundance of exposure to fake news, a less structured rational evaluation system in this context, and the higher share of the magical dimension in the local collective mind than other nations,” Andronache said, according to Agerpres.

The survey was conducted by INSCOP Research in partnership with Verifield and commissioned by the Strategic Thinking Group think tank (www.strategicthinking.ro) as part of a research project supported by The German Marshall Fund of the United States and funded by the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation through True Story Project (www.truestoryproject.ro).

The opinion poll, conducted on January 11-18, is divided into seven chapters, with Chapter VII devoted to the public’s perception of misinformation, fake news and vaccination conspiracies.

The data were collected through telephone interviews, the volume of the stratified multistage sample being 1,162 people, present on the significant socio-demographic categories (sex, age, occupation) for the uninstitutionalized population of Romania, aged 18 and over. The maximum permissible data error is +/- 2.9% at 95% confidence.

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