Monday, July 25, 2016

Barack Obama -- Still a Muslim

In the 2016 ANES pilot study there's one of my favorite questions -- whether Barack Obama is Muslim. Yes, I've researched and published on this before. These are national survey data collected in January 2016.

So, yes, Obama is still Muslim. At least in the minds of many.

A third of respondents said he's Muslim (33.5 percent). That's the bad news, but to be honest it's a number largely unchanged over several years of surveys. The good news is is two-thirds of folks think otherwise. What's interesting about the 2016 pilot survey is it asks people their confidence in their belief. These answers could range from "extremely sure" to "not sure at all" (4 possible answers).

  • Among respondents who say he's Muslim, a quarter of them are "extremely sure" and another quarter are "very sure." The most folks are in the "moderately sure" category.
  • Among respondents who say he's not Muslim, almost half are "extremely sure" (the biggest number in any category) and another 14 percent are "very sure."

In other words, those who think he's Muslim are a less sure of their answer than those who think he's not Muslim.

If it's any consolation, those who think he's Muslim do worse on a 3-question political knowledge index than those who do not think he's Muslim (significant at the p<.001 level, for you statistical nerds out there). Whites were more likely to say he's Muslim, blacks less so.  Nearly 60 percent of Republicans believe he's Muslim, and over a third of independents think so. That last one is kinda interesting. Also, people who dislike Muslims are more likely to say Obama is one, by a huge margin. But those who like Trump are far more likely to believe Obama is Muslim. No surprise there, Trump being a big birther.

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