Your Insights on April Fools’ Day in BC and Popular Conspiracy Theories

British Columbians widely participate in April Fools’ Day, with 71% having been fooled in the past and 56% having fooled someone else. We also found a surprising one-in-five or more BC adults believe in seven of eleven famous conspiracy theories!

Vancouver, BC – A recent Insights West online poll surveying 867 British Columbians found that there are pranksters living among us, but not everyone is a fan of the day.

A large majority (71%) of British Columbians admit that they have been fooled in the past, most commonly by a friend (51% of those fooled), or co-worker (33%). A smaller majority (56%) of British Columbians have also participated in the annual event by fooling someone else, the likely victims again being a friend of the prankster’s (63%) followed again by a co-worker (43%). However, only 35% of British Columbians are a fan of the day (8% big fan, 27% somewhat of a fan, 41% not much of a fan, 25% not a fan at all) – clearly not everyone likes to be fooled or to fool!

Aside from the innocent fibs and pranks pulled on April Fools’ Day, results revealed a shocking number of British Columbians believe in some fairly outrageous conspiracy theories that Insights West put to the test. Among the eleven tested, over one-quarter of British Columbians believe in half of the popular theories.

The existence of UFO’s came out on top as the most believable conspiracy – half (52%) of British Columbians claim they “believe” UFO’s exist (19% believe completely and 32% believe somewhat). Amazingly, more than one-third (38%) believe scientists have found a cure for cancer, but the government and/or pharmaceutical companies are withholding it (16% believe completely and 22% believe somewhat). There is also a large minority of British Columbians who are skeptical about the death of John F. Kennedy, with 34% believing, for example, that the Mafia, the Israelis, the KGB, or the Illuminati were involved in his assassination (10% believe completely, 24% believe somewhat).

Surprisingly large numbers (29%) also believe the conspiracy theory that human beings have already been cloned—the same number (29%) who believe that the death of Princess Diana was an assassination. Just slightly fewer (25%) believe that 9/11 was part of a US government conspiracy.

Among the theories tested, those that proved to be the least believable are the denial that dinosaurs ever existed (4% believe), that Elvis is still alive (5% believe) and that the lunar landings were a hoax (10% believe).

“I nearly fell off my chair when we looked at the first numbers coming in from our poll on the number of British Columbians who believe in some pretty outrageous conspiracy theories that are out there” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “It’s amazing the level of skepticism that exists around certain things that most would regard as scientific truths or historical events.”

Click here to view a chart showing the percentages for those who “believe” (either completely or somewhat) in the popular conspiracy theories tested.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has eight full-time and five part-time employees.

Results are based on an online study conducted from March 26th–31th, 2013, among 867 British Columbians aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for BC for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
778-891-4762
stevemossop@insightswest.com