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. Clint, Wa.

    Neaner, neaner, neaner, repukes

    August 4, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. David

    The CIA, FBI and Secret Service don't seem to doubt his eligibility, yet 27% of Americans seem to accept random emails and blogs they read on the "interwebs" as the truth. How odd. Somehow I doubt a guy pecking away at a computer in his mom's basement has access to information the entire U.S. government didn't when this issue was first addressed two years ago. This poll proves that 27% of Americans are nothing more than stubbon, gullible partisans blinded by hate and an inability to accept the fact that their side lost in the last election.

    August 4, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Robert Cloosdoosch

    "some Americans continue to doubt the president was born in the United States"

    Yes, and some Americans think that we never went to the moon,
    they have been abducted by aliens or that 9/11 was an inside job. Why do you keep giving publicity to these kooks? (and I am including Limbaugh in that group)

    August 4, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. ex-sarge

    I don't care if you are Republican or Democrat, Tea Party or Libertarian,

    August 4, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. KM

    The Birthers still believe that President Obama was not borne in the U.S? Nobody told the Birthers that Hawaii was our 50th state and to add insult to injury, Alaska and Hawaii is not a part of the continental U.S. but they are states for those who just don't believe so.

    Let's not look down on the Birthers, it's not their fault that they are uneducated and uninformed and didn't pay attention in school.

    August 4, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. Rick

    thats why obama doesnt want to pass immigration because he is an illegal. ship him home and we will in november unless he pulls a non-election disaster, we know what you are up to and we the people of America, the true patriots will stop you

    August 4, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Steven A.

    Get over it. He is the president and you are WRONG.

    August 4, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Craig

    So sad

    August 4, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Srinivasa Narayanan

    you guys should be ashamed of even asking this question. You are not asking the president the question. you are doubting the entire election system of America. They won't have passed him to be a senator if this is the case. They have accepted his document and so the media and people should do. Media is the main culprit of even taking up this subject and building a momentum on this for a discussion. SHAME ON YOU CNN AND especially to GOPers and FOX NEWS!

    August 4, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. chuckster

    Stop calling them stubborn.

    Stubborn is someone who stands up for what they BELIEVE to be right, but I don't associate the word stubborn with someone who insists that grass is actually purple or that people can actually breathe water.

    In these cases, belief has no place in the discussion because the matter is one that is governed by a determinable fact. Remember facts? They are actually more important than beliefs, although it seems to me that 2/3rds of the loons in the Republican Party have forgotten the distinction between a fact and a belief.

    A person who insists on believing that grass is purple is not stubborn; s/he is delusional. Delusional thinking is a symptom of incipient mental illness. So lets be clear here.

    At best, the birthers are mentally and/or emotionally ill. At worst, they are ignorant and/or stupid people, acting out their latent racism.

    Stubborn can be respected. I can't respect people who keep telling me that grass is purple. I can feel sorry for such people...I will willingly contribute to a fund to ensure that they have enough tin foil for their protective head coverings...but I can't respect them and neither should anyone else.

    So stop calling them stubborn.

    August 4, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Bob C

    So there you have it. 11% of those polled are insane and nearly a 1/4 are stupid. Got to love America.

    August 4, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. Sally

    For God's sake, this has to stop! We have a lot of things to deal with and people are still focused on this? If they want to worry about someone not born on US soil, how about Sen. McCain?

    August 4, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. vic

    2009 January I thought we reached a milestone. But some wants to go backwards

    Some politician divide the people to win the election because they don’t have policy 2010 we are seeing that again .It will back fire

    August 4, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Terry in Iowa

    This tells me that there are 11% who live in there own little world and wouldn’t recognize fact from fiction if it bit them in the arse. And another 16% who are nothing but lemmings and ditto heads being brainwashed by Fox and conservative radio personalities who appear to be part of the first 11%.

    If you repeat something long enough and loud enough, even lies and the brain dead will believe it without question and without fact.

    These are the core of the Republican party, do we really want puppets in control of our future. We had eight long dark years of ignorance and it wasn’t bliss.

    August 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. old soldier

    Governor, give up trying to convince them! Their minds are closed, loaded, and locked. Trying to speak rationally to idiots is a waste of time you should be spending on governing your state. It's like trying to push a wet noodle up hill, with your nose, on an 80 grit sandpaper surface: you may be able to do it, but your nose will be bloody and stumped. Don't waste time on idiots. You have a budget to balance; services to provide; huge traffic hiccups; and citizens to protect. These mouth-breathers wouldn't believe you if you had every news crew in the world filming his birth canal exit on your state legislature front steps. Move on! It's good you are a Republican: you provide evidence the current GOP won't even believe itself. God must love fools since He created so many of them.

    August 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. gt

    the people voted him in,,, its there him out,,,

    August 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. These dopes never stop

    About the same percentage of people who believe in UFOs, go to psychics, etc. This country is built , unfortunately, on a base population of morons. More people in US know their astrological sign, but not their blood type. Most can't say the Pledge of Allegience, but know all the words to the Gilligan's Island theme song.

    These are the birthers. Unfortunately, they consume our oxygen and sadly elect people to office who think along similar lines. I use the term "think" loosely here.

    August 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Shari from Madison WI

    Oh boy, there are certainly a lot of bigots and idiots in this country. If Obama was white there would be no question he was a US citizen. John McCain says he is a US citizen by birth even thought he was actually born in Panama.

    August 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Tired of Ignorant Birthers

    CNN is this a slow news day?

    August 4, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. KF

    For those doubting this birth place, consider the source.
    These people are wacos or just plan ignorant..

    August 4, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. roro

    I suppose this means that a quarter of those who voiced an opinion don't know what they're talking about. Personally, I believe this is all about race. No one brought up the FACT that John McCain WAS born in PANAMA. And the documents above certainly appear authentic. After all, the REPUBLICAN governor of Hawaii has certified them to be authentic. What else do these idiots need as proof?

    August 4, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Tom

    The same people who doubt evolution, climate change, and are 100% sure Jesus will return during their lifetimes. I'm totally cool with disenfrachising the stupid voting component in this country. No college degree? No vote.

    August 4, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Mr. Moderate

    Let's see, a quarter doubt the president;s citizenship, a quarter approved of the job Pres Bush was doing in his final months, a quarter feel Sarah Palin would be a good president.

    Seems that a quarter of the population is idiots.

    August 4, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Frank

    he was born in Kenya...that is where is father wanted him to be born
    please show us the BC that has the docs signature and BHO's footprint on it!
    anyone can take out a birth anouncement.....could be that the grandparents did it (since the daughter was not in the country!) to tell all their friends
    the reason why this is still a problem is because we don't have TRANSPARENCY!

    August 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Sherry

    Please tell those who don't believe our President was born in the U.S. - remind them of their Civics lessons - H A W A I I is a State of the United States. Also, would this be an issue if McCain won - remember he was NOT born in the United States. Do your research!!!! Okay, what did you find? I was right.

    August 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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