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Obama birther myth not going away

Topics: Barack Obama , birther

CBSNews.com's Stephanie Condon reports that the myth of Barack Obama being born in another country is not going away. The new CBS/New York Times poll shows that only 58% of Americans, and 41% of self-identified Tea Party supporters, think he was born in the United States:

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Although the Constitution requires American presidents to be natural born citizens, as many as 30 percent of Tea Partiers say they think President Obama was born in another country, according to a new CBS News/ New York Times poll. More Tea Partiers, however, at 41 percent, say he was born in the U.S.

The so-called "birther movement," questioning Mr. Obama's origins, began during his presidential campaign. It has steadily persisted through Mr. Obama's presidency, in spite of overwhelming evidence he was born in the United States -- including his 1961 birth announcement, printed in two Hawaii newspapers.

The myth persists among the larger American population, but to a lesser degree, according to the poll, conducted April 5 - 12. Thirty-two percent of Republicans think the president was born in another country.

Among Americans overall, 58 percent think Mr. Obama was born in this country, while 20 percent say he was born elsewhere. Significant percentages aren't sure or don't have an opinion.

For more, see my previous posts on the birther myth and my research with Jason Reifler on the persistence of political misperceptions.

[Cross-posted to brendan-nyhan.com]

 

Comments
Westwoodnc Westwoodnc:

Ok this is funny. When almost 40% of Americans think that way, then how is this even a fringe belief? Heck, it's almost as popular as the percentage of people who believe Obamacare will make it better for them or that it will reduce the deficit. I don't believe that birther nonsense, but it is very funny to watch how the Left in trying to discredit a far out belief that NO ONE knew about by publicizing it heavily, ended up being its biggest promoter.

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GARY WAGNER:

What has Obama done to convince anyone that he tells the truth? He's out there lying every day. Only 22% of the people believe he lowered their taxes and he was on the air all day yesterday lying about it still. It doesn't matter if he cut taxes or not - the net increase is that everyone's taxes stayed the same or went up last year.

If he lies constantly about that, lies about how Obamacare will reduce the deficit, lies about how Obamacare prevents insurance companies from denying children coverage due to pre-existing conditions, lies about not signing bills with earmarks, and lies every time he opens his mouth - why would people assume he isn't lying about being born in Kenya.

So far this president has a worse track record for lying that Clinton - who was the most lying president until now. I don't care where this bozo was born because we couldn't do anything about it now. But when 80% of the country think he is lying about raising our taxes, 80% think he is lying about the costs of healthcare, why would it be surprising that 40% would think he is lying about where he was born?

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Ptolemy:

His 1961 birth announcement? How about his 1961 birth certificate? It exists, but Obama has spent over a million dollars to keep it hidden. Must be something embarrassing...

Bad graphics: Why did CBS swap the pie chart segments for "Don't know" and "Another country" between Tea Party and all adults? It doesn't change the results, but makes them harder to read.

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Shannon,Dallas,Texas:

I think were really getting to the core here. Either A.) this poll is manufactured or B.) 100% of the people that voted for McCain think that he's a Kenyan.

These numbers are trending upward on something that should be pretty static.

This poll makes me question the pollster.

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sjt22:

When almost 40% of Americans think that way, then how is this even a fringe belief?

Technically only 20% think that way. But whether or not its a "fringe" movement doesn't make it any less stupid. A lot of Americans think the Bible is literally 100% true, that doesn't make it so. Since, you know, its not.

Oh no, what have I done! Flame war, commence!

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Habanero:

At least since Clinton, the opposition has tried to delegitimize the person in the White House. We had right-wingers claiming that Perot cost Bush a second term; Clinton couldn't have won fairly. Then we had left-wingers claim that Bush stole the electoral votes of Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. Now it's right-wingers claiming that Obama wasn't born in the United States. Both fringes have been desperately sore losers for decades now.

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Farleftandproud:

The GOP Should nominate Bobby Jindal and see hoave many progressives will believe he wasn't born here either, or perhaps Marco Rubio. Perhaps the next election debate could be a question that the candidates have to answer whether or not they were born here.

The Irony of it all is that Mccain wasn't actually born in the US either, but if you are born to an American parent it makes you a naturalized citizens. The Birthers are tin foil freaks who in my book are anti-American. I would like to see a accurate poll as to how many birthers graduated from college or even high school for that matter? That will be a new trend for the Texas textbook manufacturers is to perpetuate the birther theory.

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sjt22:

So far this president has a worse track record for lying that Clinton - who was the most lying president until now.

Um... W? War in Iraq? WMDs? Ring a bell?

As for the taxes thing, its a classic example of how idiotic belief trumps fact. Obama's tax policy isn't a secret. Its part of federal law, and plainly apparent to everyone who filed a tax return this year. 98% of families that did saw a reduction in their federal taxes, even some among the top 1%. People can piss and moan about it all they want, it doesn't change the facts.

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Farleftandproud:

Perot did cost bush a 2nd term which was accurate and there is still no proof that Bush actually won Florida. There is some good evidence to show that Bush didn't know about 9/11 before it happened, however there is no smoking gun to disprove it either.

Does Obama need to go on National TV to show to the country he was born in Hawaii. I think if he does that, many will still believe it is a hoax, but I honestly don't care.

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elizabeth:

Check his mother's passport records. You can check passport records from way before she was even born for genealogy. So see where she was on Obama's birthday. If he was born in Kenya, will everything he signed be illegal? What hospital has her medical record? Delivery room record? Kenya visitor records? Why isn't there a single medical person in Hawaii to claim they worked in either hospital and witnessed his birth? If he wants to be accepted and improve his polls he would simply show the proof. It's simple so why doesn't he do it? That's the part that doesn't make sense.

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PS Obama's sister has a Certificate of Live Birth from Hawaii too. And she admits to being born in Jakarta, Indonesia. Gee, if they could afford it, all illegal aliens could go to Hawaii and get one too.

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elizabeth:

It's all about divided loyalties. It is important.

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Habanero:

[i]elizabeth:

It's all about divided loyalties. It is important.
[/i]

In what ways has Obama shown loyalty to Kenya or Indonesia after 14 months in office?

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How come none of the polls ask if McCain was born in this country? If the American public was smart, 100% would say he wasn't. He was, of course, born in Panama. But I would bet that every Republican idiot who says Obama wasn't born in the US would say that John McCain was of course born in the US.

Those crackpots never let facts get in the way of their opinions.

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Westwoodnc Westwoodnc:

^Libtards keep giving these crackpots exposure. Reap what you sow.

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elizabeth:


The president has to be American born to lessen the chances that your leader may not be 100% loyal. That he might promise everything and then not deliver because his heart is elsewhere. The people who elected Obama don't want the health care bill. And the illegals will find out they have to pay too much for too little in the long run. And when they become legal, there will alot more people to bleed for taxes. Obama has Muslim roots and a Muslim upbringing. How can that not affect this Christian county. If you are Christian and get elected to run a Muslim country, should they trust you? Oh wait, that couldn't happen. As a black politician in Chicago he was in a church that could help get him a lot of votes. Where does he go to church now? Lots of people who voted for the health care bill sold their votes. That is why their careers are over. They did not look out for the people who put them in office. Time will tell. It is not what Obama has done for Kenya or Indonesia, it is what has he done to America. So far, we do not feel loved.

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GARY WAGNER:

If you notice this poll, the tea party people have a much higher lever of education which must make them smarter than the population as a whole.

It is in Obama's political interest to keep this question alive and I'm sure he is actively working to do so. He loves this as a detractor and I'm sure he has a whole team of people stoking the flames keeping them going.

Just like using a presidential order to seal his college transcripts and records. What is in there that he is desperate to not let anyone find out?

My theory? I think he was born in Hawaii just like he said but as an arrogant smart-ass 18 year old he filled out his college application saying he was a Muslim from Kenya. For one thing, that would be way more cool than being a half-white kid from hawaii.

What that also would have done for him is qualify him for grants and scholarships. Besides having his college records sealed, no one knows how he paid for college.

So, I'm not saying that he is from Kenya or that he is Muslim - just that it is extremely possible that he lied about that in order to get preferrential admission and a bunch of free college money.

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Habanero:

"The people who elected Obama don't want the health care bill." - Elizabeth

Did you vote for Obama? Well, I did and while I would have preferred a better health care reform bill I accepted the one that was enacted as an improvement over the status quo.

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GARY WAGNER:

@Habenero:

53% voted for Obama. 39% support the healthcare bill. So you are both right. Some support it and some don't.

For that matter, 53% voted for him but only 48% would vote for him against George Bush so that says something too.

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GARY WAGNER:

Another thing about that healthcare bill and support. It is still nearly impossible to get through to health insurance customer support call centers. Why? Because hundreds of thousands of people have called asking how to sign up for Obama's free healthcare. How many of those do you think supported healthcare before it passed without realizing that it would take 8 years to implement? Do you think some them might change their mind now that they know what a farce this bill really is?

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Habanero:

"39% support the healthcare bill."

There's a rather small gap in the polls I've seen between support and opposition. Moreover, not all those who opposed the bill based it on fear of socialism; some lefties didn't like the lack of a public option. So for the Tea Party to claim to speak for the vast majority of the nation is sheer propaganda.

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Westwoodnc Westwoodnc:

Habanero:
"39% support the healthcare bill."

There's a rather small gap in the polls I've seen between support and opposition. Moreover, not all those who opposed the bill based it on fear of socialism; some lefties didn't like the lack of a public option. So for the Tea Party to claim to speak for the vast majority of the nation is sheer propaganda

===

I keep hearing that tired old spin. It doesn't matter the reason why one opposes it. If they oppose it that means they are more open to the message of repeal/replace/reform Obamacare, which is something that the Dems in congress have given up. The Dems have nothing more to offer to the people that oppose it for a far-left reason, because the Dems will defend it no matter what AND like the 80 something "progressive" Democrats who pushed for public option (or no bill. Period.), it makes them look like tw@ts.

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elizabeth:

Insurance is protection against the the probability of needing it. As a divorced mother raising a child without any support, we had less because I paid for insurance. If the uninsured ended up in the hospital, someone helped them fill out a public aid form retroactive to the beginning of the illness. Or they could file for bancruptcy after. Obama's bill will make sure everyone pays for the coverage. No free lunch. Sure there are plenty who would have bought insurance coverage if they could and many who fell through the cracks. That is life. Besides, they won't have to pay now anyway. Wait til you need it and pay a small fine and you will be covered as if you paid all along. Makes those of us who sacrificed look like dummies. How long do you think it will take for everyone to just quit paying? They will have to treat you.

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elizabeth:

When all these doctors bail out and retire and we have all these new patients, what kind of care do you think you will get? If you are elderly and paid all your life, you may find you are too old to waste treatment on now. You won't need a preexisting condition to be denied treatment. We will be doing without a lot of things. Why do you think people come to America to be treated? Long waits that could mean your life and inferior care. I just went through a Mrsa treatment. Will they pay for that? After insurance I owe thousands.

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elizabeth:

The same people who never paid, will never pay. Not the insurance premium, not the balance after the insurance pays. Doctors will leave and hospitals will close. Less tests and preventative care that has lessened the number of cancer patients, and that made early diagnosis of many ailments and saved many people pain and suffering and early death. will be reduced. The health care bill is a mistake. Will the politicians have better coverage? You bet. They get the good stuff and the average American will see the government running our care into the ground.

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Farleftandproud:

To ALL YOU BIRTHERS, JUST SHUT THE HELL UP AND IF YOU DON"T LIKE OBAMA, GET ON HIS OPPONENTS CAMPAIGN IN 2011 and 2012. IN THE MEAN TIME, ACT LIKE AN ADULT AND RESPECT THE OFFICE, EVEN IF YOU CAN"T RESPECT THE MAN. CASE CLOSED.

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Farleftandproud:

Elizabeth is correct. I believe that the US Probably has the best medical technologies, but as an actual healthcare system that does get people into debt because of their medical care is wrong. That is why our nation waited 65 years too long to achieve some sort of regulation over big medical and big isurance.

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elizabeth:

Dear Farleftandproud

I hope you are right but am afraid. If Obama is not born on American soil, will anything he signed be legal? Hoping for an out if it all goes bad.
I think he used different names and nationalities to get a free ride educationally. If so, what would there be to respect.
According to laws at the time, his mother wasn't old enough for him to be a naturalized citizen as his father was not American. Even if he was born in Hawaii, she didn't meet an age requirement on the books for many years. Check an immigration site. People who requested his Selective Service record got records that did not match. Then after Soetoro adopted him, neither he nor his mom tried to regain American citizenship when he returned to the U.S. Didn't Obama Sr. declare him a Kenyan after his birth? It is far bigger that a missing birth certificate.

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GARY WAGNER:

"RESPECT THE OFFICE, EVEN IF YOU CAN"T RESPECT THE MAN"

Wow, farleftandproud. I'm impressed. All caps and everything. You must really mean it.

OK, then. I promise to treat Obama with the same respect and decency as people on the far left like you treated George Bush when he was president.

Your president wants this to continue. You should support him.

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Farleftandproud:

I tried to give Bush the benefit of the doubt after 9/11. Even though his election at least in 2000 was not legitimate in the big state of Florida and 5 supreme court justices never allowed for the people to know if Bush won or not, I still tried to respect the office during his presidency. I think he was a horrible president, and I did believe there was a degree of illigidimacy to his presidency. Obama on the other hand won by a mandate, and Bush just barely got enough electoral votes both times.

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GARY WAGNER:

@Farleft:

So by that I'm guessing you didn't treat him with decency and respect all through his presidency. You still don't even believe in the legitimacy of the 2000 election. So you might understand why people are treating Obama this way now. You think Bush was a horrible president, I think Obama is the worst president we have ever seen - and he's only been in office 15 months.

Believe it or not, although I didn't want him elected I hoped he wasn't a complete liar like all other politicians and would actually try to change things in washington. I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a while but he destroyed that in just months. He has made things twice as bad in Washington as when he took office.

Now, you'll have to think back about the way you talked, the names you used, or at least the way that other people talked about Bush when he was president and will just have to accept the fact that if the left can despise a president so much, so can the right.

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Aaron_in_TX:

Bill Clinton was the worst president people had ever seen, according to some. There was a lot of vitriol surrounding him from the right (some from the left too who didn't like welfare reform). He was impeached, for Pete's sake. Hillary was called very nasty things. Some even went after Chelsea. People have forgotten about all that.

I didn't like Bush very much either, but there were certain critiques of him I didn't like. The allegations of racism after Katrina, for example, that was out of line. Bush was many things, but he was definitely not racist. He appointed the first black secretary of state and national security advisor. He didn't get enough credit for that.

"I hoped he wasn't a complete liar like all other politicians and would actually try to change things in washington."

I think Obama lies about as much as a normal politician. Not as bad as Clinton, who took lying to a new level. He lied to cover up his lies.

Looking at it as objectively as I can...I don't think Obama was that big of a change over Bush. Stimulus and bailouts were continuations of Bush policy. The main difference is the way he handles foriegn affairs. There are better relations especially with Europe, less good relations with Israel, probably outside Obama's control because Israel's poltics have become more right wing (people have forgotten how big a problem Israel was for Reagan).

Health care has been a democratic goal for decades. Obama is not particularly responsible for it. Any democratic president would have pushed for it.

So far, Obama has been a great champion of the status quo. I always sensed that "change" meant nothing more than a democrat instead of a republican. The democratic candidate in 2008 would have been for change if it was Bugs Bunny. Even McCain tried to say he was for change.

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Farleftandproud:

Aaron is correct and I think Mr Wagner needs to get his facts straight. Bailouts, and Stimulus, Appointing Czars have been sensationalized as something Obama is doing because he wants to turn us into a socialist state with strong government control. Lets go back and time and remember that bailouts, Stimulus and appointing Czars was true in the Reagan and Bush 1 administrations and probably going back to Nixon.

It is one thing when conservatives point the finger at Obama for being pro-choice or equal rights to gays, because those are issues that are more liberal, but it is more annoying when Fox goes after issues that GOP administrations did themselves.

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Farleftandproud:

My Reply to Mr Wagner's Statement


If he lies constantly about Obamacare reducing the deficit,(The health care plan which was passed was graded by the non partisan budget office. Just to be fair, I will honestly say it could ad to the deficit as it stands now, and may have to be revised down the road. No doubt paying for health care is complex and Obama will have to do a better job at convincing the American people it won't ad to the deficit.

lies about how Obamacare prevents insurance companies from denying children coverage due to pre-existing conditions,

(This is not a lie because this was the biggest argument for health reform, and many moderate Republicans agree that this has to change.


why would people assume he isn't lying about being born in Kenya?

Because there is such a thing as the Republican National committee, Fox News, National Review and 5 conservative justices in the Supreme court; one of whom swore Obama in. I am sure they all did their research and would have sent someone to Kenya themselves just to get the truth. If there was any truth to the birther theory, I am sure it would have been brought up a lot more while he was running for president.

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Aaron_in_TX:

"probably going back to Nixon."

Earlier than that. There were bailouts that attempted to rescue passenger rail lines when they were declining during Eisenhower's admin. Eventually that whole sector was nationalized into Amtrak during the Nixon years. Talk about government takeovers.

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Farleftandproud:

If they want to believe that Obama's mother was underage when she gave birth, and was in another country, and next thing you will know, some righties will try to tell us his mother was telepathic and sold her soul to the Devil to make her son president someday. That will be a good one for Pat Robertson!

Lets go with this 17th century witchhunt against Obama, and I hope the GOP campaigns on it in 2010 and 2012 and see how far it gets them. Bring it on!!!!

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