Poll: Since 2008, Twice as Many Conservatives Think Obama's Muslim

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 27 2012 10:53 AM

Poll: Since 2008, Twice as Many Conservatives Think Obama's Muslim

1343400798458

The new Pew poll on religion tells us two things. One: Mitt Romney's Mormonism, which hasn't broken out as an issue since Pastor Robert Jeffress blew it up, isn't hurting him. Two: Confirmation bias is keeping the "Obama's a Muslim" number nice and high.

It's rather easy to track the second trend. The moment at which the most people thought Obama was a Christian (he is, though, not a particularly churchy once since he left Jeremiah Wright's house) was right before the 2008 election. Fifty-five percent of people thought he was Christian; 12 percent said he was Muslim. After Obama became president, he became better-known -- and it did nothing to convince people he was Christian. That number plunged to 38 percent in the summer of 2010, when Obama was unpopular. It's back up to 49 percent now, as Obama's recovered some support. Theories of the president's religion are reliant on his policies.

Advertisement

That explains the figure I clipped at the top of the post. Most of the growth in Obama-Muslim theorizing has occured among Republicans. One in six of them used to think Obama was Muslim; one in three of them now do. There's no follow-up, but you can count off the things that conservative Republicans haven't liked about Obama. The Cairo speech. "Apologizing for America." Wanting to close Gitmo. Afghanistan timetable. Siding with rebels in the "Arab Spring," and watching the Muslim Brotherhood take the lead from the rebels in classic Bolshevik/Menshevik tradition. Then, most recently, you've got theories about the Muslim Brotherhood infilitrating the government. The people who don't like Obama start with policy, then make assumptions about religion.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

A Comically Inane Court Opinion Just Upheld Puerto Rico’s Gay Marriage Ban

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 23 2014 3:55 PM Panda Sluggers Democrats are in trouble. Time to bash China.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 23 2014 6:07 PM Devil in a Trenchcoat Will the new NBC series bring Constantine into the mainstream, or ruin the character forever?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM South Florida’s Desperate Secession Movement
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.