Brendan Nyhan | August 4, 2010
Topics: Barack Obama , birth , birth certificate , birther
CNN has released a new poll on the birther myth and the news, as usual, is depressing. Only 42% of the public thinks Obama was "definitely born in the United States" and 27% of Americans specifically stated that President Obama was "probably" or "definitely" born in another country.
Here's the wording of the question and a bar chart of the results:
Do you think Barack Obama was definitely born in the United States, probably born in the United States, probably born in another country, or definitely born in another country?
The cross-tabs by party (PDF) show that 41% of Republicans and 29% of independents said Obama was "probably" or "definitely" not born here:
To its credit, CNN is very clear about the facts:
It's surely not what the leader of the free world wants for his birthday. But, for a stubborn group of Americans, conspiracy theories about President Obama's birthplace are the gifts that keep on giving...
Yet there is ample evidence that defies Limbaugh's statement and the beliefs of the 27-percent of Americans that, according to the poll, doubt the president's birthplace. CNN and other news organizations have thoroughly debunked the rumors.
Most impressively, they even put giant images of Obama's certification of live birth and birth announcement at the top of the story:
For more on why misperceptions are so difficult to correct, see my research with Jason Reifler (PDF).