Poll: 64 percent of Republicans think Obama’s hiding info about his past

The birther myth is the most widely believed political conspiracy theory in America

Topics: Birthers, conspiracy theories, Republicans, Democrats, Polling,

Poll: 64 percent of Republicans think Obama's hiding info about his past(Credit: AP/Shutterstock)

A whopping 64 percent of Republicans think it’s “probably true” that President Obama is hiding important information about his background and early life, including his possible birthplace, according to a new nationwide survey of registered voters from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind project examining Americans’ belief in political conspiracy theories.

Belief in conspiracy theories is not unique to Republicans — 56 percent of Democrats believe in one of the four popular myths  researchers asked about — but it is more common. Among registered GOPers, 75 percent said at least one of the four theories was likely true.  Moreover, researchers noted: “Generally, the more people know about current events, the less likely they are to believe in conspiracy theories — but not among Republicans, where more knowledge leads to greater belief in political conspiracies.”

“There are several possible explanations for this,” said Fairleigh Dickinson political scientist Dan Cassino, who helped conduct the poll. “It could be that more conspiracy-minded Republicans seek out more information, or that the information some Republicans seek out just tends to reinforce these myths.”

The four theories they asked about were: birtherism (36 percent of all Americans believe it); that the government knew about 9/11 in advance (25 percent of Americans think that’s probably true); that Obama stole the 2012 election (19 percent believe this one); and that George W. Bush stole the 2004 election via vote rigging  (23 percent believe it).

You Might Also Like

Not surprisingly, Republicans are more likely to believe that Obama stole the 2012 election, while Democrats are more likely to think the same about 2004. Thirty-seven percent of Democrats think Bush or his supporters engaged in significant voter fraud to win that year, compared to just 9 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of independents.

9/11 conspiracy theories were also more popular among Democrats, with 36 percent believing that Bush knew the towers would be attacked, while young African-Americans are particularly likely to believe this myth — fully 59 percent believe it.

But the most popular conspiracy theory of all was birtherism. “This conspiracy theory is much more widely believed mostly because it’s been discussed so often,” explained Cassino. “People tend to believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire – so the more smoke they see, the more likely they are to believe that something is going on.”

See the full results here.

Alex Seitz-Wald
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Sonic

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.

    KFC

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.

    Interscope

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>