Why do People belive he is a Muslim.
People who hate Obama are more apt to think he's Muslim
A number of people suggested yesterday that the rise in people who think
Obama is a Muslim reflects the fact that people may simply be describing him
this way to express general disapproval or anger over his performance.
Today, Post polling director Jon Cohen does a deep
dive into the numbers and comes up with more evidence supporting this
Cohen points out that two polls released yesterday both found very different
answers to the "Muslim" question. The Time poll found that 24 percent falsely
think he's Muslim, while the Pew poll found that "only" 18 percent believe this?
Why? It's all in the question's wording:
Time pollsters asked, "Do you personally believe that Barack Obama is a
Muslim or a Christian," dangling red meat in front of the president's opponents.
The Pew question presented respondents with a more extensive list: "Now,
thinking about Barack Obama's religious beliefs ... Do you happen to know what
Barack Obama's religion is? Is he Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu,
atheist, agnostic, or something else?"
When given a stark choice between Muslim and Christian (the Time poll), more
said Obama is a Muslim. When given a broader menu of religious options (the Pew
poll), respondents presmuably were forced to focus harder on the question of
what religion Obama really is. This may be why fewer were willing to slap the
false relgious label on him.
Also supporting this view: A larger percentage (44 percent) of those who
disapprove of Obama overall called him a Muslim in the Time poll, where they
were given a stark choice, than in the Pew poll (30 percent), where they were
forced to concentrate harder on the question.
So there you have it: The more people dislike Obama, the more apt they are to
label him as a Muslim. One broader point: It's also possible that calling Obama
a Muslim is a general stand in for claiming that he's not legitimately our
president, that he has falsely represented himself to the American people in
As dispproval with Obama's policies rises -- and as Obama sets about trying
to transform America's relationship with the rest of the world -- it's
apparently becoming too painful for a growing number of people to admit that
Americans legitimately chose an African American with a Muslim name as leader of
the free world. The notion that the president got elected by misleading the
American people about his identity in a very fundamental way might be an
increasingly easier thing for many people to accept.
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