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

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


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. Can't we all just get along?

    So a quarter of the people are that freaking stupid?

    August 4, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. hillcrester

    The GOP far-right whack-a-doodles will destroy themselves, but greatly damage this country in the process. "Have you no shame?"

    August 4, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    There are a lot of ignorant people in this country. Consider George W. Bush being elected twice!

    August 4, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Enrique

    I would bet that the same people who don't believe that President Obama was born in the US are the same ones who believe that Sarah Palin has a brain. This all makes sense now.

    August 4, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    You are never going to convince the Birhters anyway so why give stories like these credence?

    August 4, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Jimbo (The Real One)

    Of course he wasn't born in the United States. At least that is what Elvis told me last week when I spotted him at a White Hen in Cleveland...!

    August 4, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Dan, TX

    America is not failing because of politicians, it is failing because the American people are happy and don't want to have to understand complex issues. The American people are like George Bush, they want to do what their gut says, without having to really understand all the facts. Shame on the American people.

    August 4, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Midwest

    Sad to see that such a large group of Americans are nuts.

    August 4, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. Brian

    These people should be required to have MORON tattooed across their foreheads so we can more easily distinguish them in public.

    August 4, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. why

    It doesn't really matter because if your parents are citizens, which his mother clearly was, then you are. End of story. He is a "natural born citizen" by definition. Go look it up you idiots! It doesn't matter if he was born on Mars, so long as his mother is a citizen he is a citizen and he is eligible to hold office, if there was even a doubt of his qualifications to anyone with a brain or matter, he would not be in office. And bottom line is Barack Obama IS the President.

    August 4, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Dave

    Interesting coincidence. Those who think Obama was born outside this country are also to the right on the political spectrum. Sounds like the same proportion of idiots and knuckle-draggers who think Sarah Palin has a measureable IQ. Perhaps you could all find time to join the Flat Earth Society. That is, of course, when you're not wiping up your own drool.

    August 4, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Darth Vadik, CA

    Aside from the ridiculousness of these morons believing this crap...

    ...these same exact morons were talking about changing the constitution to allow foreign born and now American citizens to run for president because they had high hopes for Arnold the Governator.

    So kids as you can see, Republifreaks are OK when it comes to changing the constitution when it suits their own moronic purposes, but the rest of us (who are normal) are all here as "activists."

    Oh please Republicans, you lost your credibility when Goldwater died, now you are just a big joke everyone laughs at. Go pray or something...

    August 4, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Dave in Albuquerque

    In other words, 11 percent of the people polled were definitely racists, and another 16 percent were probably racists. With higher percentages among the Republicans polled.

    August 4, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. XWngLady

    "Birthers" are mentally disturbed. Period.

    August 4, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Linda from Minnesota

    Not sure what more proof they need but instead of focusing on where he was born, why don't these people focus on working together with democrats to find solutions to the problems we have.

    August 4, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Not All Docs Play Golf

    For that 25% who think the earth is flat, no photos from space showing it to be round can sway them.

    August 4, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. Djinn

    The majority of Americans elected Barack Obama, a Black American, by a landslide to be the President of the United States of America. He is our President. He is an American. Those who keep this bulls__t up are anti-American and most likely racist to boot. So if this is you, take your pea-brained problems and hop the next freighter for someplace that will put up with your crap. THIS is AMERICA. If you don't like it, go the hell away and let OUR President continue to solve our problems [the ones that the last President created for us].

    August 4, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. Can't we all just get along?

    Oh, and just to recap – Hawaii became a US state in 1959. President Obama was born in 1960.

    He's an American citizen.

    August 4, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Where exactly was John McCain born?

    August 4, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Not All Docs Play Golf

    For that 25% who think the earth is flat, no photos from space showing it to be round can sway them. Ignorance is alive and well in the right wing, and even the Republican leadership gives tacit approval and courts this faction.

    August 4, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. GL

    This is the main reason why Republicans will not win back Congress because they have too many nuts in their party.

    August 4, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. TFParker

    So, 25% of the population is composed of idiots. And I would bet this has always been true!

    August 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Steve

    I can understand not liking his policies, but peoples' stupidity regarding whether or not he was born in USA is astonishing. Admittedly, I've never run for president of the USA, but I'd imagine that there are a lot of hoops to jump through just to get on the ballot, and people would realize if you're not eligible.

    The Republican governor of Hawaii, who opposed Obama's campaign, has come out numerous times and proven he was born in Honolulu. What more do these lunatics want him to do??

    August 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. you all need a hobby

    this is just the dumbest thing you could be focusing on.... don't you have any real problems or perhaps a job you could be concentrating on?

    August 4, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. MrCullen

    These statistics are staggering. It looks like 27 percent of the people polled have been failed by the public school system. Can we get these people some help, or would that be too socialist of us to do so?

    August 4, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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