After nearly four years in the Oval Office, President Obama is incorrectly thought to be Muslim by one in six American voters, and only one quarter of voters can correctly identify him as a Protestant, according to a new poll.
“Wow. He said it 100 times that he’s not a Muslim,” said Zainab Al-Suwaij, executive director of the American Islamic Congress, expressing surprise over the persistent number of American voters (16 percent) who make the mistake.
Is there something insidious behind the belief, a concerted attack to link the president with a religion that's considered alien -- or worse -- by some Americans?
“I think it’s more a lack of information than an attack on him,” said Al-Suwaij.
While Americans across the board get the president's religion wrong, the religious group that most often thinks Obama is Muslim is white evangelical Protestants (24 percent). American unaffiliated with a religious group make the error least often: just 7 percent identify Obama as Muslim.
Daniel Cox, PRRI’s research director, said the small but not insignificant sliver of Americans who still believe Obama is Muslim is “fascinating.”
It's not a "lack of information". It's not "fascinating". It's plain old racism, pure and simple, where the sadly more socially "acceptable" anti-Muslim religious bigotry in society is used as a proxy for racial animus.
Most of the nutjobs on the right will fight you tooth and nail if you call them racist. But say they are Islamophobic bigots and they wear that badge with pride. Some have for over a decade now. Homeland Security profiling for Muslims of Middle-eastern or north African descent still remains a popular idea among Republicans like Rick Santorum and has come up during this campaign.
Over the last decade the screaming nimrods over in the GOP (and more than a few Dems, mind you) so thoroughly demonized Islam in this country that considering the President to be one is a calculated insult, especially given the dozens upon dozens of times the President has talked about his Christian faith, has gone with the First Family to church services, and was attacked for his relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
The best part is Republicans will continue to do nothing to smother this zombie lie among their base. Why should they, when they are powered politically almost solely by hatred and bigotry?
The number of Americans, particularly Republicans, who believe the President is a Muslim simply remains too high to be dismissed as "lack of information". If that were true, the numbers across all political groups would be somewhat close. Instead, where one in six voters overall think the President is a Muslim, one in four Republicans remain convinced he is.
In both the cases of Obama and Romney, about 40% of Americans are unsure. The difference is over half of Americans correctly know Mitt Romney is a Mormon...and given the President and his faith have had far more exposure in the last four years, for Mitt Romney to have far more people "know" about his faith than the President's is no accident.
It's willful. Period.