August 4th, 2010
11:25 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Quarter doubt Obama was born in U.S.

ALT TEXT

President Obama’s birth certificate (left) has been certified authentic by the Republican governor of Hawaii. His birth announcement (right) appeared in print in 1961. (PHOTO CREDIT: State of Hawaii)


Washington (CNN) - It's surely not what the leader of the free world wants for his birthday. But, for a stubborn group of Americans, conspiracy theories about President Obama's birthplace are the gifts that keep on giving.

The president celebrates his 49th birthday Wednesday. On the same day, a new national poll indicates some Americans continue to doubt the president was born in the United States. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, more than a quarter of the public have doubts about Obama's citizenship, with 11 percent saying Obama was definitely not born in the United States and another 16 percent saying the president was probably not born in the country.

Full results [pdf]

Forty-two percent of those questioned say they have absolutely no doubts that the president was born in the U.S., while 29-percent say he "probably" was.

"Not surprisingly, there are big partisan differences, although a majority of Republicans thinks Obama was definitely or probably born here," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Eighty-five percent of Democrats say that Obama was definitely or probably born in the U.S., compared to 68 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans say he was probably not born here, and another 14 percent of Republicans say he was definitely not born in the U.S."

The theory that the president was not born in the U.S. has nagged him since the 2008 presidential campaign. A group of true believers, known as "Birthers," have pressed the idea that Obama was born in another country - some say in his father's homeland of Kenya. By their claims, Obama is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president.

On the president's birthday, some websites bent on advancing the theory are wishing Obama a "Happy Birther Day." And some of the president's staunchest critics are fanning the flames.

On Tuesday, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh quipped on his program, "They tell us August 4th is the birthday. We haven't seen any proof of that!"

Yet there is ample evidence that defies Limbaugh's statement and the beliefs of the 27-percent of Americans that, according to the poll, doubt the president's birthplace. CNN and other news organizations have thoroughly debunked the rumors.

Hawaii has released a copy of the president's birth certificate - officially called a "certificate of live birth." And in 1961 the hospital where the president was born placed announcements in two Hawaiian newspapers regarding Obama's birth.

The White House has called doubts that Obama was born in Hawaii "fictional nonsense."

But questions persist. So much that in May, Hawaii passed a law that allows state agencies to ignore repeated requests to view government records, including the president's birth document. Hawaii's Republican Gov. Linda Lingle signed the legislation into law.

Around that time, Lingle - who campaigned for Sen. John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008 - criticized questions about the president's birth.

In a WABC interview before signing the legislation, Lingle said, "...I had my health director, who is a physician by background, go personally view the birth certificate in the birth records of the Department of Health." Lingle added, " … The president was in fact born at Kapi'olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. And that's just a fact."

"It's been established he was born here," the governor continued. "I can understand why people want to make certain that the constitutional requirement of being a, you know, natural born American citizen … but the question has been asked and answered. And I think just we should all move on now."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted July 16-21, with 1,018 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN's Alexander Mooney, Paul Steinhauser and Sam Feist contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN Polls • Hawaii • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. Sam Ellison

    This is sad on so many levels. Tin foil hats for all!

    August 4, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Tea Party Nut Job

    Kinda funny those are probably the same people that thought W was a great president.

    August 4, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Keith

    There are people who don't believe we ever landed on the moon, too. People will believe what thay want to believe, that's why what we believe should never be seen as "the truth". It is a fundemental fault of the human mind, it can never see the difference between an opinion, a belief, and the truth. It thinks thay are the same thing. It is why religions keep such easy control over their sheep. Go sheep go!

    August 4, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Laura

    Those that continue to believe the President was not born in the US are just racist.

    August 4, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Breal123

    I love how our first black president gets treated this way. History will judge America on this and it will be our shame to bear.....Patriots my a++.

    August 4, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. eddale

    The fact that so many people doubt President Obama was born in this country says a lot about the stupidity of the American people. Just imagine what a really great country this could be if the American people had some brains.
    Ed

    August 4, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. mkemick

    amazing, there are a lot of silly people out there, stupidity is a pre-existing condition – at least they may now seek treatment for it thanks to the health care legislation ......so, no more excuses seek help!!

    August 4, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. nancy

    people, how much plainer can this be? our president was born on us soil, ie, hawaii. last time i checked, and i even checked with a co-worker who was born in hawaii, that is a part of the united states. it is our 50th state. it was made a state in 1959. so, please this is a waste of time. get over it. he is a united states citizen, who was born in this country.

    August 4, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Karl in Charleston,SC

    By calling this a "Birther Myth" CNN makes clear it's opinion.

    August 4, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. BJs65

    Sigh. A quarter of those polled are imbecles who seriously need to get their heads examined. This is beating a dead horse after the bones have dried up and distinigrated!!! Enough already!!!

    August 4, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. opsyfm

    This is because he is BLACK.Simple!

    August 4, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Bill W

    Why does the COLB (Not "birth certificate" – who is fact checking at CNN) presented say " Barack H. Obama II" instead of Junior?

    A direct line of decent would make him "junior" Named after a living person would make him "II"

    Was Barack H. Obama the father or is this president's entire back story bogus?

    August 4, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. ac

    I won't be surprise at all if it turns out that he wasn't born in America.
    After all, he behave that way anyway. I mean-anyone looks at the things he does, in order to protect America and you don't find any.
    He negotiates bad deals with the Russians about our protection.
    He doesn't deal with China at all, because China even let Gates go to talk to them.
    He turned his back on Israel, and betrayed our allies in Eastern Europe by not going ahead with the missile defense.
    He sued AZ, because their citizens want a secure border.
    He doesn't enforce the immigration laws already on the books.
    And on, and on, and on.
    He defenetely doesn't has America in his hart. It is something terribly wront with this President.
    No, I won't be surprise if an investigation turns out that he was not born here. I won't be sorprise at all.

    August 4, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. JACKSON

    I can't believe anyone is still doubting his birthplace. If Barack Obama was white or a republican nobody would be questioning it.

    August 4, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Mike Mc

    Believing he wasn't born in the US is a lot easier than looking in the mirror and realizing you are a racist who's looking for anything to undermine and humiliate the president.

    August 4, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Cosmo

    Presenting pollsof people's opinions on matters like this is just another way that CNN contributes to the absurd lack of serious discourse on issues. Whether the Presidient was born in the United States is a fact question, not an opinion quesion. Anyone can have an opinion, and it is easier to have an opinion when you are not concerned with facts. The answer you are getting is that peoplewho don't like the President or agree with his policies choose to listen to the babble of those who make millions pandering to people with those "opinions" , like Limbag, Palin and Beck and the rest of the Fox dumbdown brigade, who continue to spread misinformation.
    Take a chance CNN, and move away from the entertainment/ sensationalist approach to news coverage.

    August 4, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. wake up

    WHO CARES. I care about that Obama has no desire to follow the constitution. I have a problem that his polices have been proven wrong over 100 years, in many different countries. I have a problem that he's a fraud, a liar, and a race baiter.

    August 4, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. George B from Ohio

    It would be interesting to see what the percentages are relative to college educated individuals versus those who do not have a college degree. Not to be a snob, there are many intelligent, successful people who do not have a college degree, but in general lack of higher education and ignorance go hand-in-hand. Not surprised by this, when about half the country thinks the earth is 6000 years old, what do you expect?

    August 4, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Jason

    In a WABC interview before signing the legislation, Lingle said, "...I had my health director, who is a physician by background, go personally view the birth certificate in the birth records of the Department of Health." Lingle added, " … The president was in fact born at Kapi'olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. And that's just a fact."
    ---–

    Then show it to US. Make it PUBLIC. It's that simple. This "Certification of Live Birth" is not the same thing as his original birth certificate...which nobody has seen except this Doctor. Again, why is Obama paying so much money in legal fees to keep anyone from seeing his original birth certificate??

    August 4, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. C Smith

    Therefore we should all seriously doubt the quarter's intelligence level. Perhaps they should get out of their mom's basement, get a job and contribute to society.

    August 4, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. Brandonious

    Wow, birthers are the stupidest people around. I thought that moon-landing deniers or Holocaust deniers were dumb, but these idiots take the cake. Keep the racist hate train rolling birthers!!

    August 4, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Wake up people

    I would rather have the undocumented workers here then people who are that stupid that they refuse to believe what has been proven over and over again. They obviously can't find a real problem to complain about so they have to make one up.

    August 4, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. CTSadler

    And about a quarter are obese. Correlation?

    August 4, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. The Choobs

    The president ia a space alien who was born on Planet Zxnag. There, I said it, so it must be possible–and until it is unproven by Jesus himself, I expect CNN and all the other news organizations to cover this story with a sense of urgency.

    August 4, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Leo

    Then why is everything sealed??

    August 4, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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