New Poll Shows That Misperceptions About Obama’s Faith Persist, But Aren’t as Widespread

President Barack Obama reflects during a budget meeting in the Roosevelt Room 1/29/09. (PHOTO CREDIT: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama reflects during a budget meeting in the Roosevelt Room 1/29/09. (PHOTO CREDIT: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A new CNN/ORC poll finds that although misperceptions about Barack Obama’s religious beliefs and background persist, they are not as widespread as some recent polling has suggested. Obama was born in Hawaii and is a Christian.

Overall, when asked “Where was Obama born, as far as you know?” 80% of adults said they believe Obama was born in the United States. The other 20% said that he was born outside the country, including 9% who believe there is solid evidence of that and 11% who say it is just their suspicion.

Misperceptions about Obama’s religious beliefs are more common than those about his birth, particularly among Republicans. Overall, 29% of Americans say they think the President is a Muslim, including 43% of Republicans.

The findings suggest beliefs about Obama’s birth are remarkably stable: When ABC News and the Washington Post asked this question in the same way in April 2010, 77% of adults said Obama was born in the United States, 20% said in another country, with just 9% saying there was solid evidence Obama was not born in the United States.

While some polling has suggested that substantial numbers of Republicans, particularly Donald Trump’s backers, doubted that Obama was born in the United States, the new survey suggests most Republicans think Obama was born in the country.

While considering a 2011 run for the presidency, Trump raised questions about the president’s birthplace, pushing for the release of his long-form birth certificate, and recently told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he didn’t know whether Obama was born in the United States.

Obama ultimately did release a certified long-form birth certificate in April 2011, showing he was born at Honolulu’s Kapiolani Hospital on August 4, 1961. When asked open-ended where Obama was born, rather than if it was in the United States or outside of it, fully 61% of Trump’s supporters said he was born in the United States, as did 71% of all Republican and Republican-leaning voters.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jennifer Agiesta