In 2014, Nearly Half Of Americans Aren’t Sure If Barack Obama Is A U.S. Citizen

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Personal Liberty Poll

Exercise your right to vote.

Birtherism as a political phenomenon may have had its moment, but don’t tell that to nearly half the people who responded to a Rasmussen poll released Monday. By Rasmussen’s count, 40 percent of Americans either firmly believe President Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen, or they haven’t been fully persuaded that he is.

According to the poll, 23 percent say Obama definitely isn’t a citizen, while another 17 percent say they aren’t sure. On the other hand, 60 percent reject the idea that Obama’s not a U.S. citizen.

Republicans make up the majority of those who believe Obama has lied about his citizenship, with 41 percent responding that he’s not a citizen and another 20 percent indicating they aren’t sure. Among Democrats, there are (somehow) 11 percent who believe Obama isn’t a citizen, and 7 percent who haven’t made up their minds.

The poll, which covers public opinion about a range of alternate history narratives and conspiracy theories, reveals that the lingering suspicion over Obama’s citizenship is much more pervasive than other popular theories about hidden truths:

Last November, on the 50th anniversary of the [President John F. Kennedy] assassination, 36% of adults said Kennedy was the victim of a lone gunman, but just as many (37%) said he was the victim of a larger conspiracy.

One-in-four adults (24%) are convinced that the U.S. government knew in advance about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and did nothing to stop them, and 19% more are not sure. Only 57% say that conspiracy theory is false.

Just as many (23%) say the theory that Obama is not an American citizen is true, with another 17% who aren’t sure. Sixty percent (60%) reject that theory as false.

Interestingly, however, more Americans (82%) are willing to declare as false the theory that Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1966 and replaced by the Beatles than are willing to reject any of the other conspiracy theories we asked about.

In addition, there are more people who believe Obama is not a U.S. citizen than there are people who believe the U.S. faked sending men to the moon, that a real UFO with aliens aboard crashed near Roswell, N.M., or that Shakespeare is not the true author of “Hamlet” and “Macbeth.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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