Poll: Nearly 20% of All Americans, 34% of Republicans Think Obama’s a Secret Muslim
August 19, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The 24/7 right-wing propaganda machine of Fox News, talk radio and conservative anti-Obama blogs promoting wild conspiracy theories, has adversely affected Americans’ beliefs about our first black president. A recent CNN birther poll found only 42 percent of all Americans believe President Obama was born in this country. The same poll revealed that 41 percent of Republicans are certified “birthers,” saying Obama is an illegal alien. Now, comes more depressing news proving America’s willingness to buy into wacky conspiracy theories and right-wing smear campaigns. A Pew Research Center survey finds that a growing number of Americans falsely believe that President Obama is a secret Muslim. Nearly one out of every five Americans, 18 percent of those polled, believe Obama is a Muslim. This figure has grown from 11 percent in just over a year. But the poll also found, a direct correlation between Americans labeling Obama a Muslim, who also disapprove of his job performance. The term Muslim is considered a pejorative term by many Americans, and is apparently used to show their anger and frustration with the bad economy and high unemployment rate. Still, only about one-third of Americans, 34 percent, believe Obama is a Christian, which is a steep decline from 48 percent in 2009.
The Pew survey also found that 43 percent responded they don’t know what Obama’s true religion is, despite the President’s frequent talks on his Christian faith.
The survey overall, showed a growing trend towards the belief that Obama is not a Christian. And is more prevalent among Republicans and those who oppose the President’s policies:
“The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers. Roughly a third of conservative Republicans (34%) say Obama is a Muslim, as do 30% of those who disapprove of Obama’s job performance.
The same poll showed a marked increase in Obama’s disapproval rating, climbing from just 26 percent in last year’s poll, to 41 percent today.
“But even among many of his supporters and allies, less than half now say Obama is a Christian. Among Democrats, for instance, 46% say Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009.”
“The belief that Obama is a Muslim has increased most sharply among Republicans
(up 14 points since 2009), especially conservative Republicans (up 16 points). But the number of independents who say Obama is a Muslim has also increased significantly (up eight points). There has been little change in the number of Democrats who say Obama is a Muslim, but fewer Democrats today say he is a Christian (down nine points since 2009).”
When asked how they arrived at their belief that Obama was a Muslim, or certainly not a Christian, a majority of those polled, 60 percent, answered they obtained their misinformation from multiple media sources, indicating right-wing propaganda played a large role in shaping their views of President Obama.
The Washington Post reported that the White House was dismayed by the results of the new Pew poll.
“White House officials expressed dismay over the poll results. Faith adviser Joshua DuBois blamed “misinformation campaigns” by the president’s opponents.”
“While the president has been diligent and personally committed to his own Christian faith, there’s certainly folks who are intent on spreading falsehoods about the president and his values and beliefs,” DuBois said.”
“DuBois said the president’s Christian faith plays an “important part” in his daily life. And he pointed to six speeches on faith that the president has given in which he talked about his beliefs. But Dubois said coverage of Obama’s Christianity has been scant compared with news about the economic crisis, legislative battles and other issues.”
The Pew poll was conducted before President Obama spoke on behalf of religious freedom, supporting the right of developers of the Cordoba House to build an Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero.
With the incendiary and bigoted anti-Islamic rhetoric emanating from conservative Republicans, and a majority of Americans opposing the NY Islamic center, it appears Obama’s opponents will continue to push the falsehood that he’s a secret Muslim for short-term political gain. Because it’s working, as the Pew poll shows.