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. Dixie

    The repubs will find something else to rave on about, but maybe Obama will have a rest from this subject - at least.

    I'm in Arizona. I just want to remind you that Jan Brewer's Gestapo is at work. Be sure to bring your birth certificate if you visit this state.

    August 4, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Michael

    Ultimately, people will believe what they want, whether it's the truth or not. Many republicans believe that the national media is biased against them. By the same token those same people believe Fox News is unbiased. Go figure.

    August 4, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Papasan in AZ

    Yes, and those are the same people that believe in UFO's too...

    August 4, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. John

    I'm sure I saw somewhere that he was born in Dubai.

    August 4, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Dann

    What percentage of Tea Party members believe that he was not born in the U.S.?

    August 4, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Dan

    What a bunch of loonies.

    August 4, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Gloria

    Maybe if we would stop polling about this dead issue, it would die a natural death.

    But the media keeps asking the same stupid question. If people want to be stupid and continue to believe something that has been proven to be false, let them & MOVE ON!!!!

    August 4, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. lucyna

    Only republicans may say President is not born in US. They are mean people who wish him to fail. Sorry, that's not going to happen.

    August 4, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. KDC

    Of course, as usual, a denial of the facts does not change that they exist.

    No matter how many times the birthers say that those facts are untrue.

    Of course, Obama is just as much a citizen as McCain, who was born overseas.

    August 4, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I think it's safe to say that 1/4 of americans are sorely lacking critical thinking skills. It's been demonstrated many times. There are probably a good number that shouldn't be allowed out w/o a handler.

    August 4, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. JWN in SC

    Ya know, "STUPID" ought to hurt more!

    August 4, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Rick

    I guess "proof" ain't enough for some folks. This country has hit a new low.

    August 4, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Hip

    What is the big deal?
    If Obama was born in Kenya to an American woman/American citizen, wouldn't he still be an American anyway?

    August 4, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. CJMATL

    "Believing is Seeing" – that's the true definition of ignorance. Once you believe something in your ignorant mind, that's all you will ever see, no matter how much evidence to the contrary is presented before your eyes. "Birthers" are just plain IGNORANT and don't even care about the truth.

    August 4, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Diane in Washington

    Maybe those 29 percent don't know that Hawaii is part of the United States.

    August 4, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Robert Chatfield

    I would only ask those idiots who TRULY believe that our President was not a naturalized citizen to consider the fact that he went through the primaries for almost two years! If in fact he were not a citizen, do you really think that Hillary Clinton's people wouldn't have picked up on that!!!

    August 4, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. FoolKiller

    The question has been asked… and sidestepped on every occasion. This could all go away if they would just produce his birth certificate (NOT that laser printed "certification of live birth" that most people don’t know from a birth certificate). Balls in Obama's court... put up or don't expect anyone to shut up.

    August 4, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. RK

    These are the "hardworking average Americans" that the Tea Party speaks of. Their stupidity is anything but average and judging by their education, not even close to hardworking.

    August 4, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Tim

    This just shows. 11% of Americans are complete morons. Congratulations America.

    August 4, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. TonyInNYC

    In a completely unrelated poll, researches found that 11% of Americans are idiots and 16% are probably idiots.

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Scott O' Canada

    Funny how the results of this poll correlate to the recent survey that found in a recent National IQ test...
    11% of the population were profoundly retarded
    16% were severely retarded
    29% were within the normal range
    42% were slightly above normal

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. R. Gonzales

    No one really cares for these "Birthers" and their rhetoric and misgivings. They don't want to admit that an African American won the White House. They are the extreme of the extreme. Due to the continued spewing of their views and repeated pronouncements some people have come to believe their thoughts. People need to wake up and see that there is a black president in America. And his name is Barack Obama.

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    While he may have been technically born in the US......it is highly probable he was not CONCEIVED in the US.

    Does that make a difference? No. Should it? Maybe.

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. jayjay1

    To any "birthers" out there (and according to the poll apparently there are more than a few of you nutjobs... please READ the statements below from the article, and from the REPUBLICAN governor of Hawaii.

    The bottom line of the story is: 42% of Americans have brains that are fully functional.
    **********************
    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. 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."
    *************************
    GET OVER IT ALREADY!!

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Geoz

    This information points to how idiotic my countrymen and women are; how little they understand sorting out facts from fiction, and how little our education system does.

    This is the information age. Glenn Beck can't disprove the sexual assault allegations anymore than the President can prove he was born in the US. Facts just don't matter if you don't like someone.

    Unbelievable. I think that 25% may have been born elsewhere and should be deported.

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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