Thursday, August 19, 2010

Obama Apparently Still a Muslim
Except, of course, he's not

A new Pew survey shows that a core group of uninformed Americans believe President Obama is Muslim.

I've written at length on this topic.  An example blog post is here, I've also published research from a panel of folks during the 2008 campaign, work that appeared recently in the Journal of Media and Religion.  Hell, I've even been quoted in The New York Times about my research.  So yeah, I'm interested and somewhat knowledgeable on the topic.  See the graphic from Pew on the left.

Why is the misperception that Obama is Muslim apparently growing?  Andy Kohut of the Pew Center gave a clear explanation this morning on NPR.  In part, the "don't knows" continue to grow, perhaps because Obama does not make a big deal about his Christian beliefs, particularly compared to George W. Bush who did.  I'd also add that politics, wanting to believe "the worst" about a politician you already don't like, also play a part.  Yeah, GOPers are a lot more likely to think he's Muslim, so that suggests a political explanation.  My own research also found conservative Christians (who also happen to be Republicans) are a major factor here.

All in all, a depressing and interesting survey result.  I'd write more but I have class soon, but perhaps I'll do a follow-up posting later today.

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