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That useless Obama Muslim poll

August 19, 2010 | 11:59 am

Muslimobama Oh look, a poll revealing the shocking fact that 20% of Americans are delusional about Imam Barack Obama's religious fealty. Let's see how long it takes for the Washington Post to blame the dastardly Internet:

The number of Americans who believe -- wrongly -- that President Obama  is a Muslim has increased significantly since his inauguration and now accounts for nearly 20 percent of the nation's population.

Those results, from a new Pew Research Center survey, were drawn from interviews done before the president's comments about the construction of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, and they suggest that there could be serious political danger for the White House as the debate continues.

The president's religion, like his place of birth, has been the subject of Internet-spread rumors and falsehoods since before he began his presidential campaign, and the poll indicates that those rumors have gained currency since Obama took office.

Buried in the third graf. Not bad.

I say this because blaming the Interwebs has become a cop-out for those wondering why people believe crazy things about Obama. George Washington and John Adams were accused of secretly harboring loyalties to the British crown, a poisonous charge in early post-Revolutionary America. More recently, George W. Bush's entire presidency was clouded by accusations that he stole the 2000 election, a contest in which his primary opponent, John McCain, endured rumors in South Carolina that he fathered an African American baby. Unprovable accusations and conspiracy theories are more believable when they're about the guy you didn't vote for, Internet or no Internet.

And if they're out to show how badly informed a good chunk of Americans are, the Pew Research Center may as well ask other questions -- Is Trig really Sarah's son? Did Neil Armstrong really walk on the moon? -- that would probably produce similar results.

-- Paul Thornton

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

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