He Was Born in the USA

May 04, 2011, 5:18 PM GMT+0

Last week President Obama released his long form birth certificate provided to him by the state of Hawaii. The latest Economist/YouGov Poll suggests it had effect on some – but definitely not all – of those who may not have been sure if this President was eligible to serve in his current position. 

The percentage now saying the President was born in the U.S. has risen to 67% from 55% last week. 13% still say he wasn’t, not much different than a week ago. But the percentage who are unsure has dropped.

And the change has been more dramatic among the President’s partisan opponents. The percentage of Republicans who say he was born in the U.S. has risen 16 points, from 30% to 46%. There has also been a five -point drop among Republicans saying he was not. 

29% of those who identify with the Tea Party remain dubious; but those who say he was born in this country have gone up from 20% last week to 43% now.

There is a lot of confusion about this issue, and the issue of presidential birth places in general. 17% say at least one of the presidents who preceded Barack Obama was born outside this country. Just 69% of Americans know that Hawaii was a state in 1961 when the President was born there. 

Americans have differing definitions of what a natural born citizen is. Three-quarters agree that someone born in this country meets that criterion. 8% think at least one parent must be born in the country; 8% say both must be. Those identifying with the Tea Party are particularly likely to say that.

Those with an opinion say it was the right thing to release the long form birth certificate. And approval on this action is actually higher among Republicans than it is among Democrats. But Republicans in general are much more likely than others to want disclosure on many more things. Majorities overall favor requiring presidential candidate to release their birth certificates, their tax returns and any criminal history, while a majority of Republicans also think they should release college records and grades, passport records and voter registration records. Nearly half of Republicans would also require release of non-college school records and grades. 

What sort of information do you think all candidates for president should be required to make public? Please select all that apply.

All RespondentsRepublicans Only

Birth certificates



School records and grades



College records and grades



Tax returns



Passport records



Voter registration records



Criminal history records






None of these



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