The Jeremiah Wright controversy was — and, arguably, still is — a major threat to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. When voters, especially centrist white voters who hoped Obama might be some kind of post-racial candidate, saw an angry Christian pastor making inflammatory remarks from his church pulpit, it caused some concerns.
There was, however, an upside. No one in their right minds could see all of this uproar and still think Obama is a Muslim. One would have to be a blithering fool to discount the wall-to-wall coverage of Obama attending a Christian church, and befriending his Christian pastor, and nevertheless fail to believe that Obama is a Christian.
And yet, there are an astonishing number of people out there that just can’t let go of the lie.
A Pew Research Center News Interest Index survey earlier in March found that 79% of the general public had heard rumors that Obama is Muslim, and 38% had heard “a lot” about this. The current survey finds that most voters have no misconceptions about Obama’s religious beliefs – 53% say that he is Christian. But one in ten believes Barack Obama is Muslim. Roughly a third (34%) say they don’t know what his religious beliefs are, though 9% say the reason they don’t know is that they’ve heard different things about his religion, not that they haven’t heard about it.
Notably, the impression that Obama is Muslim crosses party lines: 14% of Republicans, 10% of Democrats and 8% of independents think he is Muslim. Within both parties, ideology is a major factor: 16% of conservative Republicans believe Obama is Muslim, compared with 9% of moderates and liberals. And 13% of conservative and moderate Democrats believe Obama is Muslim, compared with just 5% of liberal Democrats.
I just have one question: what is wrong with these people? OK, one more question: what more will it take for these folks to accept reality?