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. vlj in mn

    I suppose the birth announcement in 2 leading Hawaii newspapers back in 1961 were falsified as well?? These newspapers weren't published in Kenya!! Give it a rest and focus on things that really matter!

    August 4, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. DENNA

    That quarter of Americans are sad, very sad. There is no way at all that the Republicans didn't turn every stone trying to prove that the president isn't an American. Unfortunately for them, Hawaii was a state when President Obama was born there so that makes him a US citizen. Get over it. Denying his citizenship won't make it so. John McCain was born on an American base in Panama, so that also makes him a US citizen. What in the world is wrong with you people? Now you want to mess with the Constitution. Stop! Just stop !

    August 4, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Jim

    Here is the very simple litmus test: you are I as Americans should be able to show our Birth Certificates without delays, excuses, cover ups, conspiracies etc. Yet the President has his sealed in Hawaii. Why? Unless he (or his handlers) are covering up something, he should bring in forth the certificate to display to all at a press conference. He should bring a non-partisan official who can confirm the authenticity of the document to all and provide visible proof. This act once and for all would dispel the controversy and silence the critics.

    August 4, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. sonny chapman

    Is it any wonder why America is incapable of solving it's problems ? Too many people thinking with body parts other than the brain.

    August 4, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Robin in SC

    So tired of this lie and those who won't let it die. After almost two years of infallible evidence of Obama's citzenship, its time to STOP THE LIES!

    August 4, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Ferret out the BS

    So have the 41% of Republicans, Rush Limbaugh and cronies been certified as actually sane? However we all know that Rush is a drug addict, some serious stuff too. I guess that's why the Republican's listen to him, he speaks in a language of hate fueled by his need for dope.

    August 4, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Tom

    With all the evidence, and all the government agencies checking into it, and all the Conservative wack-jobs who have claimed to know more than anyone else in the world, and have been unable to find anything resembling a cover up – with all of this; if you still do not believe the president was not born in the United States, you should just no be allowed to vote – for anything! Political or even on the dial in reality TV shows. You just toooo stupid to be part of society!!

    August 4, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. ETM

    What a remarkably ignorant and foolish people we are that a stupid rumor started by Obama's enemies is believed by so many. I wonder how many of these people believe in the Easter Bunny too.

    August 4, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Mathew

    That's probably the same quarter that think Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church.

    August 4, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. yoyoma

    "America"...getting dumber by the day

    August 4, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    First of all, it is noted that Rus Limbaugh has a quote in the article. My question is, is how many of that 1/4 support the Tea Party? Now, back to Rus Limbaugh, I think he should be deported because he is clearly unAmerican and he seeks to bring down this country. I want to see his proof of citizenship, social security card, birth certificate, drivers license, etc. I know right now that I believe all those documents are probably a forgery. So I'll just keep on 'hammering' him via the news outlets until I'm satisfied he is indeed NOT an American. Therefore, on those grounds he is not an American Citizen and must be deported. Trouble is, I don't know of a country that would take him.

    August 4, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. p

    The evidence is and has always been irrefutable.
    – But no matter.
    This celebration of ignorance and pigheadedness will continue.
    I rightly predicted that Obama's election would bring all the outraged racists out of the woodwork, like cockroaches. It is good, however, that they go ahead and identify themselves in this way, so we know who they are, where they are...
    Let's face facts:
    These wackjobs will never accept the fact that a black American man was elected as POTUS fairly and squarely.
    Just like the all-white juries in Mississippi, back in the day, who could decide the guilt of a black suspect, just by looking at him – nevermind the facts!

    August 4, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Logan in IA

    And this is why a large portion of Americans are simply ignorant. No wonder our country elects hypocrites like republicans into office time and time again.

    August 4, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Jimbo (The Real One)

    I can only assume that the 25% that still doubt the authenticity of the President's birth certificate also had trouble graduating the 8th grade. Clearly they are easily manipulated by the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and told how and what to think. It's really too bad to waste time on such a foolish topic when we have so many greater problems to address in this country.

    August 4, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Crazy Harry

    It so sad to think that 25% of our country or over 75 Million people are that deluded.

    Maybe we want to reconsider that free speech amendment thing?

    August 4, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Grog in Ohio

    What a sorry indictment of the American public that such utter nonsense, spurred by the right wing nut-o-sphere, has made such a penetration into the American psyche. Sad.

    August 4, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. glib lib

    All this poll does is verify that 27% of the people who were polled are dumb@$$3$.

    August 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Frank from Gilroy

    It's the same 25% of the dumbass rednecks that were giving Bush a positive rating when he left office. The GOP knows hate sells and they set it up on a platter for these dumbass rednecks to gobble up.

    August 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Get A Grip

    I will say at first I thought these 'birthers' were just a bunch of crazy people, but as time goes on I'm beginning to think they're on to something. Just read the other day where Mama Obama's passport was "accidentally" destroyed. Interesting because it would have shown where she was when Barry was born. Also read that Daddy Obama's FBI file was "accidentally" destroyed. Start putting all this, and other information regarding Obama's birth place and I can certainly see where people believe Barry was not born here in the United States. Come to think of it, I'm 99.9% convinced Barry is not a U.S. citizen.

    August 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Da Professor

    Lets see now - A quarter think Obama was not born in the United States. That accounts for the right-wing extremists who will say anything and do anything to retake the Congress and the White House. What pathetic fools they are!

    August 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. Lionhart

    Happy Birthday Mr. President!!!!!

    August 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Tony

    Sadly, the race-baiting arm of the Republican party (far right fringe) has succeeded at instilling this doubt. For the short term it may win them some votes, but in the long term (and they NEVER think long term) it will cost them.

    August 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    S0 what?..even if he was born in another country he's still better rhan any of our "home grown" trash.

    August 4, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. CR

    The Tea Party/Birther/Republicans are a lost cause. Mean and crazy people aren't going to change.

    August 4, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. floridian

    Let's put it to rest. He is our President and we need to accept that. Happy Birthday, Mr. President, from a die-hard, conservative, registered Republican.

    August 4, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13