Months ago, when scattered polls, some sponsored by liberal groups, found a shocking high number of Republicans expressing belief that President Obama was born abroad, conservatives and many in the media mocked the surveys—not the respondents—as surely biased. Now a series of surveys from top national polling firms have confirmed the earlier findings, with a new shocker today from CNN (on Obama’s 49th birthday). It reveals that 41% of GOPers believe that Obama "definitely" or "probably" was born "in another country."
That number is actually quite a bit higher than the Washington Post poll back in May which found that "only" 31% of Republicans (and, surprise, the same number of tea partiers) held that view. Many at that time professed to having "solid evidence" for their belief. In that poll only 15% of Democrats had the Birther mindset.
The new CNN poll found that 11% of all Americans are certain Obama was born abroad with another 16% saying he probably was. Only 42% are sure that he was born in the USA.
But the GOP/Democratic split on this is dramatic—and should be key topic both on cable news shows tonight. What does it reveal about willful ignorance and bias on the part of at least 4 out of 10 Republicans? And what does it show about media coverage that routinely ignores this? That earlier Washington Post was met with media indifference, with the Post itself downplaying it.
Yesterday Rush Limbaugh quipped on his program, "They tell us August 4th is the birthday. We haven’t seen any proof of that!" CNN, in its report today, emphasized how false the Birther view remains (this is not unusual, beyond Fox), but still the belief persists—and possibly even grows. When will the media take a long and hard look at this?