The lingering questions about Obama’s faith likely come from people of two mind-sets. One is those who have an intense dislike of the president and find confirmation of all their fears in a fever swamp of conspiracy websites. Where a birth certificate is not accepted as proof of someone’s place of birth, forget about verifying something as intangible as a statement of faith.
The second factor driving up Obama’s “Muslim number” is doubtless the urge of some respondents to stick it in the pollsters’ ear — to commit a small act of defiance by giving an answer the voter knows is untrue. When the interloper in the Oval Office is deeply loathed, why credit him with anything, least that he is a Christian?
Rainey focuses his attention largely on 17% who think he is Muslim. Probably this is because it really is incredible that anyone could honestly believe he is a devout Muslim, as so many of his actions are inconsistent with that faith.
What I wonder about is the people who answered “don’t know” or “other” in the poll. Is there also a conspiracy theory that Obama is secretly Buddhist? Actually, most of the people I’ve talked to who doubt Obama on this suspect that he’s an atheist, not a Muslim. Not sure why those people would answer “don’t know”, though.
As for the results on Romney’s religion, I was surprised how many didn’t know it. It’s one of the most notable facts about an otherwise fairly dull politician.