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. BD70

    Even though it was proven that he was born in the US they still continue to poke to find that "truth" that will possibly prove them right. Well...whatever. Keep digging if that is all you have to do with your time.

    August 4, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Tanja Carroll

    This just goes to show that 11% of Americans are complete morons and that 16% of Americans are clueless fools.

    August 4, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Tone Loc

    It's not that they believe he was not born here (rumor started by the Clinton campaign) but that his father was not a US Citizen nor when he move to indonesia his new parents gave up his citizenship... How did he get in Pakistan (Passport) in college? How did he get funding for college...did he file under non-citizen for grants?

    August 4, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Diane

    I knew there were some stupid people in this country, but these "birthers" take the cake. How much more proof do they need? Perhaps they should be on medication for their paranoia. It's time for the folks to pack up and go away – far, far away.

    August 4, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Dano

    I would bet money that of the 16% of Americans who doubt that President Obama was born in the USA, 99% of them are Republican and no amount of proof will change their minds. I'd also bet that of these same 16%, many or most of them think that the President is a Muslim, a member of al Qaida or Hamas, or that he's a space alien sent to take over Earth!

    August 4, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. n werle

    these MORONS arewa so PATHETIC

    they are the RACISTS!

    my sources in hawaii gov have seen the certificate

    the NEWSPAPER had the entry

    August 4, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. EWenis

    I'd have to be curious on a followup question – how many people believe Hawaii is a state?

    August 4, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. JohninTampa

    Just in: 27 percent of Americans cannot find their arse with both hands!

    August 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Rob

    I didn't need a poll to know that a quarter of Americans are brainless.

    August 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. joel palmer

    This merely proves that a quarter of all GOP-ers should be euthanized; please convene a "death panel" to start the proceedings

    August 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Gary

    That's about the same percent that there is Republicans, I mean Independent Tea Baggers.

    August 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. vic

    The ignorance in this country is a sad statement about the society that we have become. People believe what ultra right wing talk show hosts tell them no matter how much they lie. Limbaugh is not a real patriot he only cares about ratings and money. But then again there are those that still believe the world is flat.

    August 4, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Gwen

    "Birthers" are just ignorant and hateful!!

    August 4, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. skynyrt

    Using the word "bent" in this article is poor journalism & shows that the leftwing rag that is CNN is "bent" over for this President. If CNN admits that 25% doubt the authenticity of the Presidents birth in Hawaii, then the actual percent is around 40. And lastly, although there has been a birth certificate produced, I do not recall ever seeing it myself. I think that some decent thinking people doubt the authenticity of same.

    August 4, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Independant Thinker

    This is simply disgraceful. All of you "Birthers" read this please.

    Every time you make this claim that he wasn't born in this country and isn't a citizen you insult ALL of the people in the Secret Service, the FBI, the CIA, the Senate and the House. If there were any truth to your claims don't you think somewhere in this "Giant Government" that you also hate, someone would find undeniable evidence of your claims and come forward with it for the "protection of our Country?"

    Your ongoing display of ignorance and continued use of this claim
    to try and disprove his citizenship for political gain is insulting to all Americans and, in particular, those people in the previously mentioned Security Organizations that risk their lives on a daily basis for us all.

    As to Limbaugh....he's using this to increase his ratings by inciting fear and panic in an ignorant (or racisit....yes. I said it) segment of our population. He has no conscience beyond his bank account.

    "Birthers"..........you should be ashamed.

    August 4, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. David Johnston

    Now that you have shown it again, that 1/4 of people will be in the bathroom or out somewhere and say they never saw it.

    August 4, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Ga Patriot

    Unbelievable!!!!!!! How could that be? How can anyone dispute the proven facts and how on earth could anyone explain why birth announcements would be published in newspapers just by CHANCE that Obama might run for President half a century later?!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. IKHAN

    Well folks, the truth of the matter is that some among us just cannot reconcile with the reality that a person of color is now in the White House.

    What should have been a matter of pride & symbol of freedom & democracy for this nation is being turned by the Far Right,Neo-Cons & the likes of Tea Partiers & such into a deplorable game of racism & hate.

    August 4, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. n werle

    Gov 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."

    August 4, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. R.E.B.

    What do you expect from a bunch of idiots that voted for Bush League Boy.

    August 4, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. ja

    the quarter is flat foot racist, they can't stand the fact that one other than a white man is president, and these same folk claim to be so godly, it is a sad day for mankind

    August 4, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Pam

    "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."
    All that tells us is the 27 percent (11 + 16) of those polled are stupid!!!

    August 4, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Willy

    If there's credible evidence that our President was not born in the USA, where is it? Is there a wide spread media cover up? People can speculate all they want. I'm only interested in the truth.

    August 4, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. ssr047

    All this highlights is just how poorly educated and gullible half of the country happens to be. I'm sure I'll recall these numbers (as well as those on evolution) the next time I hear one of my fellow countrymen ranting & raving on how "backward" and "primitive" the people of other countries are.

    August 4, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Take America Back

    Before you Left wing Liberal Nuts begin your attack on Americans consider this;
    It is not so much doubting Obambi's birth place, it is America's confidence (or really a lack of it) which is little to no confidence.

    August 4, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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