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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Belief That Barack Obama is Muslim Decreases For Republicans But Increases For Democrats

The controversy surrounding Jeremiah Wright and his sermons that were made public, via video, and the fact that Barack Obama sat in Wright's church for 16 years, while bringing forth questions about Obama's agreement or disagreement with Wright's controversial words, the very fact that he was sitting in a church and not a mosque would imply strongly that Barack Obama is a practicing Christian and not a Muslim.

Despite all of that and the extensive public relations campaign to make it clear to the American public, 12 percent of Americans still think that Obama is Muslim, according to Pew Research in their latest release.

The breakdown shows that 12 percent of Democrats, 12 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of Independents still hold that belief.

(Click to enlarge)

The poll also shows that Democrats that share that misconception about Obama are "significantly less likely to support Obama."

Among the 12 percent that still believe that Obama is Muslim, despite evidence to the contrary, 51 percent back McCain and 37 percent back Obama. Among those that believe that Obama is a Christian, those numbers reverse themselves, with 52 percent backing Obama and 32 percent backing McCain.

Then the report delves into the one-quarter of voters that say they do not know.

One-quarter of voters say they don't know what Obama's religious beliefs are, including 10% who say the reason they don't know is not that they "just don't know enough about him," but instead that they've "heard different things about his religion." Significantly, those who have heard different things about Obama's religion favor McCain by a margin of 48% to 33%, while those who just don't know enough about it favor Obama 48% to 33%.

The issue is less substantial with the Independents, with those believing that Obama is Christian showing that they are evenly divided between John McCain and Barack Obama and those who think or have heard Obama is Muslim, show more support for McCain by a 50 percent to 34 percent margin.

In a Pew poll from March 2008, the numbers show a slight difference.

In March, 14 percent of Republicans believed that Obama was a Muslim, which has gone down to 12 percent in the latest report but the number rises the same 2 percent with Democrats, going from the March figure of 10 percent, to the most recent figure of 12 percent and Independents back in March showed that only 8 percent believed the misconception while todays numbers show 11 percent now do.

This shows that the belief that Obama is Muslim has decreased in the minds of Republicans but somehow increased in Democrats and Independents.