Less than half of Republican primary voters reject Jade Helm conspiracy theory

Yesterday, Public Policy Polling released a national poll with familiar toplines. Scott Walker narrowly leads the GOP pack, Hillary Clinton holds a commanding 60% of the Democratic field and Chris Christie has absolutely no chance of becoming President. Ever.

Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz have also seen declines in their support among Republican primary voters. The poll was launched before Bush doubled down on his support for going back in time and re-invading Iraq, so it’s unclear to what extent, if any, his bad week contributed to his bad numbers.

However, Public Policy Polling, with their penchant for asking questions that poke the id of the Republican base, polled likely GOP primary voters on the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory.

Jade Helm 15 is a series of military training exercises that are scheduled to take place throughout the country later this summer, with more of the training taking place in Texas due to its mix of urban and rural settings. The exercises are part of regular military training that takes place all the time, and the military obtains permission from landowners and local governments before conducting exercises on their land.

Nevertheless, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has instructed the Texas State Guard to monitor the Jade Helm 15 exercises that are conducted in Texas, as if the Texas State Guard would stand a chance against US Special Forces if in fact the United States was planning to take over the state and impose martial law, as right-wing conspiracy theorists suspect.

Of course, as the National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg pointed out, “the United States government already controls Texas. It’s party of the country.” So what exactly do these Republican voters think the government plans to do once they’ve taken over?

Despite there being no reason for Texans to grab their bug-out bags and run to the nearest fallout shelter, PPP found that 32% of Republican primary voters think that the government is trying to take over the state of Texas. Only 40% of GOP primary voters think that the government definitely isn’t trying to take over the state, while 28% are not sure.

This is likely due to the fact that Texas politicians, from Abbott to Ted Cruz to Louie Gohmert, haven’t exactly dispelled rumors that the government has the Alamo in its crosshairs.

Last week, Cruz called suspicions regarding Jade Helm 15 the “natural consequence” of an untrustworthy federal government.

Gohmert built upon that theme, writing in a statement:

Louie Gohmert, via DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Louie Gohmert, via DonkeyHotey / Flickr

We have seen people working in this administration use their government positions to persecute people with conservative beliefs in God, country, and notions such as honor and self-reliance. Because of the contempt and antipathy for the true patriots or even Christian saints persecuted for their Christian beliefs, it is no surprise that those who have experienced or noticed such persecution are legitimately suspicious…

…Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution. When the federal government begins, even in practice, games or exercises, to consider any U.S. city or state in ‘hostile’ control and trying to retake it, the message becomes extremely calloused and suspicious.

While the crosstabs include smaller sample sizes, and therefore should be taken with a pinch of salt, PPP found that 56% of Ted Cruz voters and 76% (!) of Rick Perry voters think that the government is preparing to invade and reconstitute the Lone Star State, presumably as a neo-Marxist crypto-fascist dystopia with Sharia law and mandatory gay abortions. Because Obama.

To Perry’s credit, he dispelled the conspiracy theory, albeit in as diplomatic a way as possible so as not to tell three quarters of his supporters that they’re nuts, saying to Fox News that “I don’t think it’s healthy to question the military.”

Of course, since Cruz and Perry are trailing badly in the race, Scott Walker still leads among Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theorists with 23% support to 18% for Cruz.

This is going to be a long, long primary season.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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39 Responses to “Less than half of Republican primary voters reject Jade Helm conspiracy theory”

  1. White&Blue says:

    Maybe the U.S. military has been abroad for so long that people don’t remember that they’re supposed to be back home as well.(Joke). Pretty much any rational person would understand that a soldier’s first priority is to protect their homeland, and the only way to do that, is to have training exercises like the Jade Helm. Of course, the words “rational” and “right-wing” have never been usable in the same sentence.

  2. ComradeRutherford says:

    No, I don’t really think he’s pretending. I was underscoring his point by showing how idiotic he is…

  3. NMRon says:

    Wait a second your title’s off. “Majority of Republican Primary Voters Crippled by Paranoid Psychosis.” There . . . short and to the point.

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  5. Denver Catboy says:

    Isn’t this funny. The only one who has upvoted your comment … is you. Guess that says something about the quality of your comment, and the quality of your opinion of yourself.

    Can’t even get the other trolls to upvote you? Man, that IS pathetic.

  6. Denver Catboy says:

    Are you sure the idiot is pretending? Look at the article it’s replying to.

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  9. Demosthenes says:

    The nutty Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory and the belief in it by significant numbers of Republicans proves the harmful effect of talk radio. In addition, the idiot pandering politicians going along with this nonsense also share the blame. Imagine if Texas GOP Gov. Abbott and Sen. Cruz has refused to play along with the droplets and tin foil hat wearers?

    (I exclude Texas GOP Cong. Gohmert from the small list above because he is demonstrably insane and therefore not pandering).

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  11. ComradeRutherford says:

    Why do the insane, anti-American, far-right extremists not like passenger rail?

    Because strangers riding together on a train is COMMUNISM!!!! The Government should force all Americans to drive only huge pickup trucks that gets 18 gallons to the mile, because that’s FREEDOM®™

  12. ComradeRutherford says:

    You sure do a great job at pretending to be an uneducated Conservative crackpot. You even have the incomprehensible sentence structure down pat. Only true far-far-far-far-far-right extremists actually believe the easily disproven lies that the far-right media make up.

  13. ComradeRutherford says:

    Conservatives have always made up crazy lies and then threatened to kill anyone that dares tell the truth. Conservative voters have historically voted only for the most brazen liar.

  14. 2karmanot says:

    Only with cheese

  15. Atleastmydog Likesme says:

    Louie Gohmert, artist’s conception:

  16. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    You can’t blame Mexico for having some taste.

  17. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    It’s sad to see someone upvote their own comment.

  18. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    What’s Amtrack?

  19. rocket625 says:

    Do you like Amtrack?

  20. rocket625 says:

    Texas and Idaho are just sensible hard working states that don’t buy into communism. The left always tries to explain that reliable hard working people are just “far-right fringe”. The day is coming soon where your president will be back to running a megaphone in the street and the people that know what they are doing are back running things.

  21. Houndentenor says:

    If you have any ideas, let us know. Gerrymandering is part of the problem but then there’s the statewide races. We even ran a real candidate for governor this time. Okay she didn’t run the best campaign ever but she didn’t do any better than the ones that just phone it in. I don’t know what to tell you. The idiots are in the majority down here.

  22. The_Fixer says:

    I understand that 100% of the population is not like these fools, that’s why I did not say that is the case.

    The extremes you see in the people from the state just strikes me. I do feel bad for the smart ones who are stuck there.

    But jeez, can’t we do something about the others?

  23. Calvinius says:

    Only on the condition that Mexico agrees to take Oklahoma as well.

  24. Indigo says:

    The power of trash television and idiot radio is impressive. I do not fear for the future, though. There won’t be one if this nonsense holds steady.

  25. Houndentenor says:

    They hear them on the radio and read them online. There’s a lot way crazier than Limbaugh and Fox News available these days. No, not kidding, and yes it’s crazy and dangerous. It’s not just scaring people to vote. they are scaring people to arm themselves and be paranoid. What could possible go wrong?

  26. Houndentenor says:

    If the citizens of Texas no longer want US military bases in the state, the military can remove them. There will go all those jobs too. San Antonio would collapse without the Air Force but that’s a small price to pay for “freedumb”. /s

  27. Houndentenor says:

    Because it’s a big state. You also find right wing nuts in California and Massachusetts. don’t mistake the majority for 100%. Yes, the wingnuts are the majority in Texas. That’s rather self-evident, but among the rest you have some very smart, sensible people stuck here for various reasons, often huddling together in very blue islands (almost all the cities are blue).

  28. BlueIdaho says:

    Texas, like Idaho, has a large minimally educated rural population. ALL of their information about the world comes from the far-right fringe media, which they ingest 24/7. Example: the Idaho legislature recently refused ratification of the child support treaty based upon fear that the state will have to recognize Shariah law. Their stupidity used to surprise me, not so much any more.

  29. mirth says:

    I don’t blame anyone for being suspicious of these military exercises, which speaks to a general distrust of many things our government and our mainstream nuze have to tell us. Weeks ago, when info was so sketchy, I had the same reaction. They’ll be in cities? Citizens will be asked to report ‘unusual activities.’ Some assist from our already militarized police? However, with more info of their purpose, coupled with nutso rantings from the likes of Cruz and Gohmert, I steered away from Wingnutville.

    Appreciate the post, Jon.

  30. Indigo says:

    Do they want it? Somehow, I doubt it. After all, Mexico is so civilized they’re on the metric system.

  31. nicho says:

    Or at least just give it back to Mexico.

  32. Indigo says:

    That! Although I suspect the ratio you cite is dwindling.

  33. Indigo says:

    That’s the kind of paranoia (“oppressed by the EPA”) that fascinates me. How in the world do people get these does-not-apply notions? Crazy!

  34. Indigo says:

    To take over Texas? No. I want to expel Texas from the Union.

  35. 2karmanot says:

    Nicho, maybe he was afraid that flannel shirts were poisoning his well.

  36. 2karmanot says:

    Cause: Texan ranking in national education–45. Effect: 32% of Republican primary voters think that the government is trying to take over the state of Texas.

  37. The_Fixer says:

    What is it about Texas?

    On the one hand, you have idiots like this bunch who embrace the conspiracy theory in its variations.

    On the other, you have people like the late Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, and a lot of great actors, artists and musicians.

    It seems to me that ratio of insane dimwits to those who are sane and talented in Texas has to be at least 50,000:1. How disappointing.

  38. Atleastmydog Likesme says:

    When you have Jonah Goldberg as the voice of reason, you know things have gotten seriously crazy over there at the lunatic fringe.

  39. nicho says:

    Has anyone defined what they mean by “taking over the state?” What? Put lots of military bases there? Oh, wait . . .

    It reminds me of when I lived in rural New Hampshire. The guy across the road from me was obsessed with how he was being oppressed by the EPA. This guy had absolutely no interactions with the EPA in any way, shape, or form — not even indirectly.

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