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. all the news that's fit to omit

    Just something else I don't care about, but remember OVER 30 percent of the country thought 9-11 was an inside job.

    Stupid is as stupid does.............

    Next story..............

    August 4, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Please

    Just shows how this country is going down the tubes. Right wing followers refuse to think for themselves. Whatever dribble Rush et al spew they believe – Obama is not a citizen, Death panels, weapons of mass destruction, etc. How any educated person sides with the right wing is amazing – I'm not saying they should be dems, maybe start their own party that actually values thought though. (Sorry teabaggers, you are the worst non-thinkers out there.)

    August 4, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Marie MD

    Hey fat boy limberger, the proof is right is front of you but those fat eyeleds of yours don't let you see beyond your stupidity and hatred.
    Does this tub of lard have anything to say about mcnasty who WAS born in Panama?
    BTW – wasn't he supposed to move to Costa Rica? Has anyone bought his NY apartment? Even fumigating it to the maximum wouldn't get rid of his stink!
    I am glad the State of Hawaii has put a stop to the various claims by the same individuals hoping the next time would be the charm.
    These prople are beyond capable of any decency. I am sure the FBI and Secret Service wish they realize that they do a better job with vetting than mcnasty did with the imbecile from AK. Look at us still fooling around with these idiots after two years of them being defeated.

    August 4, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. sharon

    Did the "birthers" ever concider that their fellow gop er's that either want to leave the Union or want to take away the "birth rights" of children born in the US are still barking up a very old dead tree???????????????????????????????????????????????

    Not to mention.......if birth rights are taken away from children born here to parents that are later found to have been "illegal imigrants"......then they also wish their citizenship to be challanged??????????

    Immigrants to this country, that correctly should still be called "Turtle Island", before it was stolen,desecrated and destroyed....(.you know: bp ......oil desaters, coal mining ......stripping away the Earth.......putting toxic chemicals into the water.....................things like this).........came here uninvited..........."illegal" then their offfspring should lose their "citizenship"........right????????????

    Turtle Island inhabitants will not mind.

    Go ahead with allllllllllllllllllllllll your plans......they may backfire on you.
    Are you ready for this?
    good ole' gop party..........tea bagers.

    August 4, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. rdepontb

    Nothing we can say to these people now, is there. Maybe-probably-they could all move to Texas and have that state join Mexico instead of the US of A. That should help absolve them of the shame of having, in their eyes, a non-native US President. See ya'll, amigos.

    August 4, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |

    It is sad to know in this country that still more than a quarter of the public is racist, because the only reason these is being harped on is because the president is Black ABSULUTELY NO OTHER REASON, America wake up and teach all these racist that we don't have a place for them in this country.

    August 4, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Jason

    Sorry, according to these numbers, technically it means 58% of the country has doubts that Obama was born in the US.

    August 4, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Laverne

    Just pure ignorance! I have never known any US President birth rights to be challenges like President Obama, it is just ridiculous. The way people are coming after him, if there was any proof he was not a US citizen, it would have already come out. If Senator McCain would have won and thank God he did not, we would not be hearing all this crap and he WAS NOT born in the US. The level of hatred thrown at this presidency, and not necessary because of his policies, but because who he is is absolutely mind boggling! There will never be anything such as equal rights and all men created equal in America. It is a sad truth, but nonetheless it is true. The seed of hatred for blacks is so deep seeded and deep rooted, it could never be overcome in this lifetime. I can see why black people dislike most whites, I am white woman and I don't blame them at all, it is shameful!

    August 4, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. AmericanPeople

    100% of me thinks that 25% of the American people are uneducated morons.

    August 4, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Augsbee

    Obama's mother's Passport would be the one document that would tell us if she left Hawaii pregnant and when did she return to Hawaii??before or after the birth????? it's a simple, nice love story.
    I don't believe it's "conspiracy theories", it's just that the reality tells us that the girl was extremely young, 3 months pregnant when she married a man who had already been married, had experience, was a foreign student from Kenya in Hawaii and most likely she went back to Kenya with him to see the family and there is a big chance he stayed in Kenya with her and their son was born in Kenya.
    This is about a very young girl in love, pregnant, she wasn't thinking politics.
    She entered Hawaii with the baby and she had the right to give him the USA as his Birthplace. The newspaper announcement could have been posted, paid by her parents in Hawaii.

    August 4, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. KLK

    That quarter who don't believe the Pres. was born in the USA are likely all poorly educated, fat, white southerners who don't speak standard English, and get constant misinformation from FOX entertainment news. As we say in the south "bless their hearts."

    August 4, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. nomad

    Well if Rush says there's no proof, then it must be true. . . really no surprise here; these are the same predictable ( REAL Americans, they call themselves) wingnuts that believe in Sarah, glassy eyed Michelle B., global warming is a hoax, on and on. If you know any of these people, challenge them every day on the facts, educate yourself, be civil- and try to help people understand the vile lies the Reich are pushing. Its all you can do. Oh yeah, Anne Coulter, almost forgot her.

    August 4, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Sgt. John

    Yes, and a quarter would like us to revert back 200 years, especially the ones sitting home taking these stupid poll questions, so what? Proof that we have ignorant nutcakes living in this country is not big news; just a sad reminder that all those taxes spent on education doesn't pay off 100%.

    August 4, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Laurie

    Happy Birthday Mr. President, Hawaii celebrates with you! Let the wackos think what they want, they don't care about facts they twist at any opportunity. They prefer hate and disguise it however they choose, but America doesn't buy it. It is so difficult to comprehend that the "patriots" prefer to push their hateful agenda much to the detriment of the country they profess to love. They keep trying and keep failing...they are the ones dragging the country down but surprise things are improving despite their best efforts.

    August 4, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. ps

    The far right has never left facts get in their way, why would the actual certificate be any different.

    I heard from Fox that the world was flat, don't get too close to the edge, you'll fall off and burn in hell.

    August 4, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Why are we still talking about this?

    1/4th of the country obviously either cant read or they have forgotten that Hawaii is in fact a part of the USA. Perhaps a lesson in history or geography would help those 25%.

    August 4, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. a little sad

    Similar to the number of people who consider Palin qualitifed to be president.

    I don't understand why people are so willing to lie to themselves.

    August 4, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. carlos

    what do you expect from RETARDS??????INBREDS???????HAY SMOKERS???????RACCOON MEAT EATERS??????ERRRRRRRS???????

    August 4, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Rob Ermets

    You know father race is still listed wrong for the era this document was reported to come from.... stupid detail anyway

    August 4, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. prsmith

    Much ado over nothing. Where Obama was born is irrelevant. The fact that his father was a Kenyan national and a British subject and NOT a U.S. citizen is all that is necessary to disqualify Barry to be the POTUS. Unfortunately, the fox is guarding the hen house and we likely won't get anyone in the government to do anything about it. The globalists are in control and it appears that we don't have the cajones to do anything about it.

    August 4, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. JC from Kansas-40 years a Republican

    Why is this even in the news. A group of ignorant individuals grasping at straws attempting to bring down an adminstration? He is a natural born citizen of the United States. This actually, does not merit any more attention what so ever, if you don't like the guy pull up your big boy panties and get over it.

    August 4, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Eric 31m

    How do we know the certificate above is not a fake? We're not stupid, CNN.

    August 4, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Dale

    – He doesn't act like an American president
    – He is more worried about complying to other countries than his own.
    – He is letting this racism talk get out of control.
    – He underestimates our enemies.
    – He's definitely racist against white people.
    – He is a power monger- Wants to control every aspect of our lives.
    – He don't believe in our constitution
    – He don't listen "TO THE PEOPLE" and over runs us.

    And last but not least HE IS VERY DISREPECTFUL to our religeons, our beliefs in prayer, our dead soldiers, our constitution and our flag.

    August 4, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Steve51

    The lack of intelligence in the U.S. will be our downfall.

    August 4, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. chenna_benna

    why report on the moronic. By doing so you are only egging them on.

    August 4, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13