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New CNN poll on birther myth

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?

Cnn-all

The cross-tabs by party (PDF) show that 41% of Republicans and 29% of independents said Obama was "probably" or "definitely" not born here:

Cnnbyparty

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:

Cnnpics

For more on why misperceptions are so difficult to correct, see my research with Jason Reifler (PDF).

[Cross-posted on brendan-nyhan.com]

 

Comments
Farleftandproud:

Can we put this to bed? Obama can invite the curator from the city of his birth and ask every GOP in congress to see the document up close, and they will still not believe it. Polling people about these myths is only going to perpetuate their delusional theories. CNN is just giving into them.

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StatyPolly:

Well, you finally got something right, kid, giving blind squirrels everywhere a glimmer of hope.

Perhaps you should figure out how many of the liberal birthers even know that HI is a US state. Or was one in 1961.

BTW, ever heard of "Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute" or the "Independent Payments Advisory Board"?

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melvin:

Jesus Christ when is the major media going to stop polling on this ridiculous issue.

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Field Marshal:

I agree. Lets put it to rest along with 9/11 was an inside job, the Bush tax cuts were only directed at the wealthy, Bush went into Iraq for oil, and Cheney and Bush are a war criminals.

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Farleftandproud:

This is insane the pollsters, are actually pursuing this crap. I don't really believe that 9/11 was an inside job, yet it did cross my mind at one time. I think that Bush used 9/11 to gain tremendous presidential power and abused his power to get us into a war we shouldn't have been in. The average American loser really believed Sadaam and Al Quada were all in complete cooperation.

The Birther myth on the other hand is pathetic, because even if he wasn't born here, his mother's birth certificate says she was born here. They are insane.

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Mike E:

Birthers are a little nuts. Their beliefs are as out of the mainstream as those who think that Bush did 9/11, that the liberation of Iraq was about the oil, or that "Bush sent troops to Iraq to get their heads blown off for his amusement", or that "if you are stupid and dont stay in school, you will wind up in the military stuck in Iraq". Shockingly the last two comments are by elected democrats.

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Joe Simmons:

Another poll linked from this site shows that only 28% of Americans know who the Chief Justice is. I bet most people don't know one must be born in the US in order to be president, thus it doesn't matter to them if Obama were born elsewhere. Many have probably never heard of the birther myth but know that his father was Kenyan, that he grew up in Indonesia, etc and they assume he was born out of the country. This poll likely reveals a great deal of tolerance for having a president born in another nation - though based on ignorance of our Constitution and current affairs.

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Ptolemy:

This is about secrecy. Many people know that Obama's original birth certificate exists, but has been withheld from the public. Such disrespect from those in power engenders the same from the scorned. The "certification of live birth" produced for the 2008 campaign may be valid, but it leaves off some of the information on his actual birth certificate. Whatever we are not told is something that we have no need to know, right?

Since the pollsters don't ask if Obama ought to uncloak the earlier document, "not born in US" at least borders on the answer some people would like to give.


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AlanSnipes:

Ptolemy:
Moron

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StatyPolly:

Ptolemy, you're exactly right. Obviously, BOBO's relentless refusal to disclose the original document is the reason for public's skepticism.

The best hypothesis I've heard on the subject was that BOBO was born before his parents were married, that fact being reflected on the more detailed original BC, and BOBO being deeply embarrassed by that fact.

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Drew_WI:

Wouldn't the inclusion of "probably" skew the results somewhat, since it adds sort of a wishy-washiness (for lack of a better word)? It might be of more use to look at it as Yes (definitely and probably) vs. No (Definitely not and probably not).

Also, it might be more positive to note that a substantial majority, though really not enough of one, say that he was in fact born here. You seem to skip that entirely in your intro, not to claim some sort of bias on your part or anything.

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Drew_WI:

Wouldn't the inclusion of "probably" skew the results somewhat, since it adds sort of a wishy-washiness (for lack of a better word)? It might be of more use to look at it as Yes (definitely and probably) vs. No (Definitely not and probably not).

Also, it might be more positive to note that a substantial majority, though really not enough of one, say that he was in fact born here. You seem to skip that entirely in your intro, not to claim some sort of bias on your part or anything.

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CompCon:

The author seemed to think it was important to emphasize how many republicans and independents think that obama was "definitely" or "probably" not born here but that shouldn't be a surprise. These are the people who don't believe anything Obama says and this is seen as just one more lie from him.

What I find most interesting is that only 2 out of 3 demoocrats think he was "definitely" born here. Over a third of all democrats have doubts. That says something about his credibility. Even a significant portion of his supporters question his honesty on this.

In fact, 58% of the country aren't certain where he was born. That doesn't seem like some fringe - that is a majority of the country who questions his birthplace.

But then another good question to add would be, "If not, so what?". People I know that think he is lying about this also say that there wouldn't be anything anyone could do about it anyway.

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Aaron_in_TX:

"The "certification of live birth" produced for the 2008 campaign may be valid, but it leaves off some of the information on his actual birth certificate."

"Ptolemy, you're exactly right. Obviously, BOBO's relentless refusal to disclose the original document is the reason for public's skepticism."

Perhaps the document does not exist.

As someone whose profession sometimes entails searching birth records, I can assure you there are many reasons an original birth certificate may not be available, even in the modern era.

For one article I was working on, I searched for weeks for the bc of a woman I KNEW was born in 1943 in a particular town in Mississippi. Letters referenced the town as her birthplace, she graduated from high school there, interviews with family/associates confirmed she was born there. But no original birth certificate. There was a newer one printed out much later. Without that evidence I couldn't conclude the exact place of birth, but all evidence pointed to that town.

The original may have never have existed, but this didn't cause me to conclude she was not born in America. The evidence points to Obama being born in Hawaii, most notably the birth announcements in two different HI newspapers.

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Aaron_in_TX:

Anyone whose done historical or genealogical research can confirm that kind of frustration.

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