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. Todd M

    The next question for the doubters should be , OK. Where is your proof that he was born somewhere else.

    Atheists could just as well say. I don't bellieve in God because I haven't personally seen God.

    August 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Jackson from Rome, GA

    Well, it's official.

    1 out of every 4 people are functionally retarded.

    August 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Zel in CT

    These people are so deluded that God himself could come down, inform them that Obama was born in Hawaii, and they'd still insist they have no proof.

    I say we deport these idiots; they're dragging our great country into the valley of the stupid.

    August 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. ex-sarge

    I don't care if you are Republican or Democrat, Tea Party or Libertarian, WHY IS THIS AN ISSUE????? Can we have an honest debate about real issues that concern the lower (pay wise) 95% of Amercians? Why is it that Gun, God, and Gays are election issues only? Because when the right uses those issues to scare their voting base they get elected, then when they are in charge, they don't do anything about those same issues, so they can keep using them over and over. Also, why is the same people who won't believe Obama is an American, did not have a problem with the citizenship of John McCain, who was born in Panama.

    August 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. chaz in Colorado

    It is amazing to me that 27% of Americans can be that ignorant or just plain stupid. The lies of the GOP and the talking heads should be totally disregarded, and generally is by the more educated and intelligent Americans.

    August 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. chenna_benna

    But these people aren't racist...right? All the evidence in the world proving the president was born here and they will still say he is not an American citizen just to say he is not one of us. Can those 25% show us their birth certificates?

    August 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Independent In Albany

    No doubt Limbaugh and the birthers think the earth is flat too

    The short bus is over there fallas

    August 4, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. teachend

    Wow. How sad for those deluded extremists, so willing to believe propaganda and lies. I know you guys WANT to believe this of Obama. But wanting to believe it does not make it true. I know there are also crazies on the left who believe that Cheney and Rumsfeld planned the 9/11 attack, but they are a very small percentage. I guess the left doesn't have Limbaugh and Fox News to keep the rumors flying.

    How sad for America.

    August 4, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |

    Birthers are a pretty stupid bunch.

    August 4, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Futon Torpedo

    -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!"-

    "Classy" Conservatives?

    Bunch of clowns!

    August 4, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Bill Taylor

    The reason this continues to come up is because CNN and other news orignaztions entertains this by print or comments on this issue. If the news stop reporting this lie. You and I know it will go away. Therefore the news reporting orginaztions in america is part of the blame for this problem.
    When will we mature and focus more on Americas problems!!!!!

    August 4, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Frank from Gilroy

    Can people really be this stupid. Hillary and McCain had over 200 million dollars in there war chests to dig up everything they could on this guy and all they could come up with was Ayers and the preacher in 18 months mudd slinging. If there was any way that Obama was born outside of the USA these two had every reason in the world to expose it. Even McCain who over the last 2 years has proven he has no morals or fear of saying anything totally stupid didn't go there. The 25% of the public that kling to this are nothing but rasist dumbass rednecks.

    August 4, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    conspiracy theories about President Obama's birthplace are the gifts that keep on giving.

    Yes indeed! the "gifts" that keep on giving life to a sensationalistic, and more often than not divisive press, in their all-out quest for RATINGS!!

    Did you ever think that if you'd stop giving "life" to these lunatics and their demented claim, that they'd go away?!

    Cheers to you CNN. Not.

    August 4, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. DeFactoKing

    And even though I'm not a George W Bush fan, many said he was truly the antichrist. Hmmm, guess there are just so many nutcases out there that fiction becomes truth these days. Meanwhile, people are starving and losing their homes. But what matters – what some lunatic nutcase group thinks about a birth certificate.

    August 4, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Kobie

    CNN....Why d you continue to perpetuate this? You are doing a disservice not only to your own organization (creditbility), but also to the American people. The media is bordering on the dangerous the way they have covered politics in the half decade.

    August 4, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Jan

    I don't care where he was born he's a much better President than John McCain would have been and who was 4th from the bottom of his Naval Academy Class, doesn't know how many homes he owns and unleashed Sarah Palin on this country, for which I'll never forgive him.

    Happy Birthday Mr President and many, many more.

    August 4, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Mathew

    Phew. Only 25% of this country's citizens are complete morons. I thought the number was much higher.

    August 4, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Ron in california

    Stop this Birther nonsense. He is elected President...even though many of us don't like hs's to late. get over it. You are making those you are associated with look foolish.

    August 4, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Joseph

    It's your stupid reporting that keeps bringing this topic up that makes it the gift that keeps on giving.

    Imagine this poll question:

    President Obama, being an elitist, believes strongly that 1+1=2. Many real Americans are not too sure about that. They think our nation makes more out of 1+1. What do you think 1+1 =?
    a) 2
    b) 3
    c) Anything but 2
    d) 0

    Stupid questions deserve stupid answers. CNN, you are contributing to the dumbing down of America.

    August 4, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Voice of Reason

    It is any wonder? These are probably the same 1/4th that thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. Or the same 1/4th that thinks the world will end in 2012 because the Mayan calendar ends there.

    Puh-Leeeze! Are we REALLY that dumb?? If you spin something the wrong way enough, or say the same stupid thing often enough, eventually someone will fall for it. It's like political Phishing.

    August 4, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. ramtruck2500

    For christ sake what can ya say he has caused all things that are evil since the dawn of time everything is negative. To be honest I got sick of this shit with Bush and now its just his turn. so anything positive to report on? Obviously not just ask the GOP. They are the first to tell you hes sending us all to hell. i guess i am just differentI see good stats and some good things. Way to go GOP you can make anything look like trash, of course it takes one to know one.

    August 4, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Don

    As a white guy, I can still say that this seems like it's predominantly a racism issue. To those people who are too moronic to understand the weight of evidence showing the basic truth that this guy is a US-born citizen, ask yourself this: would you be asking this if the President were blonde-haired and blue eyed?

    This is just one more way that the racially intolerant, or hopelessly ideological, people in this country can cling to their misguided hope that some day they will wake up and the election of a black man was a horrible nightmare rather than the truth in this country.

    August 4, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Sue

    Surely these daft individuals that still believe Barack Obama was not born in the US have some sort of brain disorder! They really need to seek help!

    August 4, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. FDA

    This man is trying to run this country. This group, headed by Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity, have done more to damage this nation than anyone in history, The republican blockade of any, (or all) bills including legislation of their own, has reached a point where even the dumbest Americans should see it. Canada is looking better and better. Let the conservative hate mongers have this country. Let them finish what their beloved Bush started!

    August 4, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. ConstitutionalPatriot

    A certificate of live birth is not the same as a birth certificate. You can show up with your newly born baby from god knows where and get one of those. Let's see the real thing! What is Obama trying to hide by not simply addressing the issue and laying it to rest?

    August 4, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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