The functions of the conspiracy theory surrounding the ’89 Round Table in present-day political life are discussed. In the online research conducted in 2018 on a representative sample of Polish citizens, we found that attitudes towards the Round Table are an important marker of the fundamental political division in Poland. Those who supported the current rule of PiS (with a nationalistic-authoritarian orientation) agreed with the ’89 Round Table conspiracy theory, whereas those who supported the liberal opposition against PiS rejected the ’89 Round Table conspiracy theory. Moreover, believers in the Round Table conspiracy appeared to trust politicians and justify the system to a higher degree than those who rejected this conspiracy theory. We also found that endorsement of the conspiracy theory of the ’89 Round Table was significantly associated with the stability of voting preferences. Among those who voted for PiS, conspiracy theory believers formed a stable electorate, whereas among those who voted for parties with a liberal orientation, theory believers were likely to change their voting preferences. Thus, belief in the discussed conspiracy is not only a part of some ideological landscape but also has direct behavioral consequences. The social-psychological reasons for the growing popularity of the ’89 Round Table conspiracy theory are discussed.
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- Mirosław Kofta, Michał Bilewicz, Stephen Reicher, From Conflict to Dialogue? Lessons of the Polish Round Table ‘89 , Social Psychological Bulletin: Vol 14 No 4 (2019): Special Issue “From Conflict to Dialogue? Lessons of the Polish Round Table ‘89“; Guest Editors: Mirosław Kofta, Michał Bilewicz, and Stephen Reicher