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. ac

    This doubts can be taken care of very easy-All Mr. Obama has to show is a completed birth certificate. It is as simple as that.
    However, he can not because he doesn't has it. He doesn't has it, because he was not born in the USA. It is as simple as that.

    August 4, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Shucks

    A quarter of the public? I would say that would include all the looney right wingers, and many more republicans. The horse is dead folks. It is a fossil at this point. Move on and give something back to your country instead of trying to divide it. I know a black man as president really upsets alot of you, but the MAJORITY elected him. Deal with it like grown ups.

    August 4, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Laurie in Spokane

    What in the world is wrong with those 27% of people who say they don't believe Obama was born in the US? Even after there's ample proff that he was. It's probably the same people who say Sarah Paline is viable as a presidential contender. ........probably the same people who believe in a flat earth......maybe the same people who believe in creatinism........the same people who think the National Enquirer actually tells the truth in its stories......the ones who think women belong barefoot and pregnant and in the home...........makes me sick.

    August 4, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Daniel

    Probably the same 27 percent that thought W was doing a favorable job at the end of his presidency.

    August 4, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. fideauxdon

    .....Which only proves that one quarter of the public is terminally retarded, and would rather make accusations than check facts. As a blatant example, these slow thinkers are DEMANDING to see a Birth Certificate with an MD's signature. If they'd ask a few basic questions, they'd know that in many, if not all states, a Hospital Birth Certificate IS NOT regarded as proof of anything; ONLY a government with a proper seal is acceptable.

    August 4, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Come Now

    There is nothing MYTHICAL about the FACT that Obama refuses to present his long-form birth certificate.

    And besides... He went and lived in Indonesia and went to school there, which required him to renounce his American citizenship. So he's still not allowed to be the President.

    And I'm not a right-winger, I'm a foreigner to your country, and truly the jokes on you, because overseas, everyone has looked into this and knows how you have all been played. It's only your propaganda that's so strong in your country that has made investigating this issue taboo.

    August 4, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    On the extreme right we have nut cases that believe Obama is not born in the US.

    On the extreme left we have the same percent who believe he is super-human.

    He is a man, doing the best he can. Some successes, some failures, some truths, some lies.

    Sorry to burst your respective bubbles. Get over it.

    August 4, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. ME

    No matter how much concrete proof you show the doubters, it will never be enough. The BC isn't signed by the right person! Where's the long form? Hawaii wasn't a state! Our president has been travelling overseas, with a passport, since he was a small boy. There are more gov't documents stating his place of birth for him than for your average person, going back to his childhood days.

    August 4, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. kakaraka

    I don't understand your bogus polls. How can a few people think of something and you guys generalize it? Those interviewed do not represent the vast majarity of americans so how generalize this? Journalism is the most biased job I ever seen. Because Obama is black, you racist still think a black man cannot be president. He might not be born in the United States. How crazy is that? John McCain wasn't born on US soil but you never ask that question and do polls on him because he is white. Give me a break.

    August 4, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. bbrooker

    In another poll, 27% of Republican Americans believe the sun is square because Rush Limbaugh told them so.

    August 4, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. SueEllen

    There you have concrete proof of the President's birth in the U.S. Has anyone seen Sarah Palin's high school diploma?

    August 4, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Tom

    Birthers = Wingnuts

    August 4, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. chris

    Not for trhe first time, the intelligence of this country's population is under serious question!!

    August 4, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Joe

    The fact that anyone at this point thinks the president wasn't born in the USA is a good indication of how totally our educational system has failed us in recent years. We have long since ceased to teach critical thinking skills or provide children and thus adults with the ability to see through the barrage of BS they encounter everyday on TV and online. It's not only sad, it's frightening.

    August 4, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Chris

    The best part about having a conspircay theory is that you will never be proven wrong. No matter what evidence is brought forward that debunks your theory, all you have to say is that the evidence is a lie or has been fabricated. At no point will the people who believe the theory that President Obama was not born in Hawaii accept that he is actually a natural born citizen. Not even if time travel were possible and you took them back to witness the birth would they accpet that they were really there or that it was really Hawaii. It is all a massive cover up going back to the day that he was born and the terrorists decided he would be the one to run for president some day and got the newspapers to run a false notification of birth and created the false birth certificate.
    If they woke up tomorrow and decided the sun rose in the west, there is no amount of proof you can provide to get them to change their minds. To their dying day they will talk of how all the rest of the country was wrong and they were right.
    I choose to belive the state of Hawaii, which has verified President Obama was born in Hawaii and is therefore a legal natural born citizen and therefore can be and is the President.
    One mroe thing. We are a Democracy. That means the person the majority of people want ot be President is. So he is the President of the United States, not the President of the People Who Voted for him. I didn't vote for him and don't like the job he is doing. But he is still the President.

    August 4, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Glen71

    Headline should read 25% of Americans are racist and almost all Republicans are racist! That is what I get out of this poll.

    August 4, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Tracey

    What this poll really tells us is that 25% of Americans are idiots.

    August 4, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |

    i really don't care where Obama was born as long as he tries(and he's really trying)to do a Presidential job
    the ones that I'm ashamed of and were born here are the Bushes,Cheneys,Palins,etcThey give USA a very bad name,those are the birth certificates that should be considered invalid

    August 4, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    It doesn't really matter if he was born in the US or not–he's just as much a disaster either way.

    August 4, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Terry - Indiana

    All ilegal aliens from Mexico should move to Hawaii. There is free healthcare, free education, and a chance you could become POTUS, if you were born in Hawaii.

    August 4, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Watching in NC

    All this proves is that 27% of Americans have nothing better to do than swallow the insane drivel spewed out by that idiot, Limbaugh. Sad ... truly sad.

    August 4, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. richard

    you people of this birther movement have alot of nerve . anything to distract and enflame the rightwing hate machine. and a note to the folks of the tea party who say you are'nt racist and that you want to fight the racism charge. i say poppy-cock . i was born in 1954 and i grew up w/ you bigots including your parents and your grandparents. and it goes on and on its in your genes it is inbedded in every cell in your racist body and iam talking a good majority of you people. from calif to the new york islands. don't insult my intelligence. it is what it is for the majority of you. you are in denial.

    August 4, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. RG

    Just more lies and distortions being spread by sore losers and haters. Politics gets more ugly every passing day.

    August 4, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. diridi

    that quarter is idiotic GOP and Tea Party Republican thugs, and goondas...ok...they need to find some work...and concentrate...than this silly stupidity...

    August 4, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Deb

    I have no problem with the current president being born in the US–However, why will he not produce a birth certificate? Some of us have to produce one just to get a driver's license and have no problem with it. He should not either.

    August 4, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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