The Birthers Aren't Going Anywhere (An Update)

Throughout the year, I have been tracking beliefs about President Obama’s citizenship (see here and here). From September 15-17, 2012, YouGov again surveyed 1000 Americans and asked whether “Barack Obama was born in the United States of America.” In the table below, I present these results, alongside the polls that I presented in my earlier posts.

 "Barack Obama was born in the United States": Full Sample
April 2011 January 2012    July 2012    Sept 2012
Before release of birth certificate    After release of birth certificate   
 
True 55% 67% 59% 55% 59%
False 15% 13% 17% 20% 21%
Not sure 30% 20% 24% 25% 19%

These polls demonstrate the hint of some movement toward the belief that Obama was born in the United States. However the percentage of people who think that Obama was not born in the United States has held steady throughout the year, and perhaps even increased slightly.

As I noted in earlier posts, the incidence of Birtherism is especially pronounced among Republicans. A plurality of Republicans believes that Obama was not born in the United States. Indeed the level of Birtherism among Republicans is the highest it has been this year.

 "Barack Obama was born in the United States": Republicans Only
April 2011 January 2012    July 2012    Sept 2012
Before release of birth certificate    After release of birth certificate   
 
True 30% 47% 27% 31% 27%
False 25% 23% 37% 33% 39%
Not sure 45% 29% 35% 36% 34%

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Authors

Adam Berinsky

Adam J. Berinsky is a Professor of Political Science at MIT. Berinsky received his PhD. from the University of Michigan in 2000. He is a specialist in the fields of political behavior and public opinion.  He is the author of In Time of War: Understanding American Public Opinion from World War II to Iraq (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and Silent Voices: Public Opinion and Political Participation in America (Princeton University Press, 2004) and has published articles in many scholarly journals. He has won several scholarly awards, is the recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation, and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.