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. shame on them

    The quarter of the people in this country that doubt the President was not born in this country just simply do not like having a black president. I think those people should for once get away and leave the president to do his work. Whether they like it or not he is there president. Stop playing the race and color card. Open your minds and eyes the country is trying to change. Join the group. God Bless our country and the once with open minds to accept things and not be there to start trouble and doubts among our citizens.

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Barnum

    We should prevent that 25% of our population from breeding, and spreading the stupid.

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Sam

    Shame on CNN for running this poll. This gives this idea credence!!!!!!

    August 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. t

    A Hawaiian certificate of live birth is not an actual birth certificate. It is a momento copy given. My son was born in Hawaii, and we have both of these documents.

    August 4, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. jrh

    The Birther movement – DUMB AND DUMBER – part 2...

    This poll is not really surprising – A poll out July 4th indicated almost 26% of the American public didn't know we fought for our independent from England...

    The birther movement are either "racist," or 'dumb working class' Americans who want to keep the "rich and powerful," in power – in other words, the Republican Party....

    You know – We don't have to worry about terrorist trying to destroy our country – The Birthers, The Republican party and Palin are doing a good job at it themselves....

    August 4, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Nate

    There isn't any documentation that will satisfy the people who want to believe he wasn't born here. These people could have been sitting at his birth and would still deny it.

    August 4, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Alex

    Just grow up and get over it. You man/woman lost and you got Obama for president. Next topic please.

    August 4, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Marc

    This is pathetic. Anyone who actually believes this is ignorant, and their right to vote should be taken from them.

    August 4, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Allen Hussein

    Just goes to show that there is an epidemic of stupidity in this country!

    August 4, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Ed

    Does the 27% correleate to the same morons who cannot find Hawaii on a map?

    Don't like who won a fair democratic election –by a statistically significant margin? Well, then just claim he's illegitimate - not "your" president.

    "Birthers" need to get a real life.

    August 4, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Jasonk

    His being born when or where is irrelevant if you donot have a job thanks to the drunken sailor policy of the Bush and the clinton administrations. If he was born outside America we would have hillary already sitting in the white house exporting the remnants of jobs that he BJ hubby failed to export

    August 4, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. John in Cal

    This goes to show you just how dumb Americans really are. Hawaii and the Presicent have posted his birth certificate, and yet they doubt. So post your and see how many doubt. I see the end in sight for this country when we show such a low intelligence level.

    August 4, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. AaronofMad

    Could some of the people in this country be any more stupid? Don't bother to answer that.

    August 4, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. SEL

    So basically, this is saying that only 42% of the people living in this country are intelligent. Great.

    August 4, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Carol - Midwest Independent

    And another poll shows that all who don't believe he was born in the US are tea party/republicans.

    Surprise, surprise.

    Best part is, it wouldn't matter if he was or not. His mother is an American Citizen and he could have been born on the moon, he'd still be a citizen.

    Are any of those people intelligent enough to even realize that?

    August 4, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. jake1969

    This is downright embarassing. For this conspiracy to have worked, they would have had to of known back when he was born in 1961 to also run fake ads in Hawaiian newspapers...knowing 1 day he'd try to run for president.

    It's just absurd. Come on people, oppose him for his policies if you want, but when your hardcore political views blind you from reason, you've got problems!

    I can't believe only 42% say absolutely sure. This is the downside to the information age. While it's mostly positive, you have to KNOW YOUR SOURCE. So much ideological lies out there, on both sides, that a lot of people are still easily confused...

    August 4, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Russ in Benton AR

    Who cares.

    August 4, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. jim

    I'm more interested in whether the person can pull our country out the economic mess we're in than if he's born in this countryThat was settled the day we elected this individual.And so far Obama has showed that he isn't up to the task that he was elected to do. He has showed no leadership skills and doesn't seem to do anything but whine about the mess he inherited from Bush.

    August 4, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Ian

    Hard to imagine a quarter of the population is really that dumb.

    August 4, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Ron Nospam

    Further proof of rampant ignorance on the right fed by the lies of the "Lim"-stream media.

    August 4, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Yugo

    That's because 25% of the people polled are ignorant.

    August 4, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Larry

    I know there is a growing disparity between the haves and the have-nots in this country, that much is well documented. But I am beginning to believe there is also a faster growing disparity between the intelligent and the dumbed-down. In other words, this poll is not only unbelievable, it is appalling. As a result, one can draw either/or of two very troublesome conclusions from the results of the poll:

    1. People are so blinded by their partisanship they no longer can make an objective observation, no matter how mundane, about a person of their opposition party. We'll call this irreversible polarization.

    2. People are so irretrievably lost in the black hole of intellectual void that it is impossible for them to function intelligently in a world which requires any semblance of abstract thought; in other words, just plain stupid, kinda like W.

    August 4, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. paylin

    This is what some Americans care about right now? Makes sense that these so-called birthers make up 11-27 percent. About the same amount of clinicaly diagnosed Idiots in this country.

    August 4, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Chas

    It's finally time to challenge the citizenship of EVERY SINGLE Republican in the House and Senate as each and every one of them is ANTI-AMERICAN! Just look at their voting record individually and collectively if you doubt that assertation.

    August 4, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. Dave

    Interesting nugget:

    The main lawyer fighting to have Obama release his long form BC is a Hilary Clinton supporter, not a republican / conservative.

    Print that, CNN. Talk about that, Anderson.

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