The 2012 Republican Primary’s Five Hottest Conspiracy Theories

It’s easy to mock Alabama and Mississippi Republicans today for their views on Barack Obama’s religion. But that’s hardly the only unfounded, persistent belief lurking below the surface of the political season.

1.

Obama is a Muslim

The latest Public Policy Polling numbers show that 45% of Republican respondents in Alabama still believe that President Obama is Muslim. The number is 51% in Mississippi.

2.

All the gold in Fort Knox is gone

This theory has been perpetuated as recently as last year by none other than gold aficionado Ron Paul, who has said he wants to open up Fort Knox and count all the gold bars inside. Treasury officials say the gold is safe, but crazy people on the Internet believe that the government secretly sold all of it. A subset of this theory includes the idea that, to evade suspicion, the government replaced all the gold bars with bars of tungsten and dipped them with gold.

3.

The government is keeping gas prices high on purpose

Bill O’Reilly is a big proponent of this one, the idea being that the Obama administration is intentionally keeping gas prices high in order to push a green energy agenda. “The Obama Administration wants the price of gas to go up as much as possible,” O’Reilly said on his show in February. “Right now we are all being taken advantage of by an administration that has an anti-fossil fuel agenda and an oil industry that manipulates the US market.”

There’s some long-term truth to this: Environmentalists think high gas prices will push people away from fossil fuels. But there’s no evidence Obama is scrambling to keep the prices as high “as possible” during an election year.

4.

The media is lying about how many delegates Ron Paul has accrued

Diehard Ron Paul fans believe that the media has fudged the number of delegates Paul is winning. The theory is supported by the candidate himself in emails to supporters like one from last week:

The mainstream media got the Super Tuesday story wrong.

In fact, while I didn’t win any state’s straw polls, my team expects me to win a plurality of delegates in at least three states, as well as outright majorities in two more of the states that have already started their process.Daily Paul.

5.

Rick Perry is gay

This one’s died down a bit since the end of Perry’s presidential bid, but rumors about the Texas governor’s sexual orientation have been swirling for some time. The Huffington Post even sent its reporter Jason Cherkis down to Texas to investigate before killing the story. Over the summer, a Ron Paul supporter in Texas took out a full-page ad in an Austin paper asking for anyone who’d had sex with Perry to come forward.

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