For the last five years, a small pocket of professional conspiracy theorists have carved out a corner of the internet for the express purpose of advancing the theory that President Obama was not born in the United States, his birth certificate is a forgery, and that therefore he is not eligible to serve as president of the United States.
But a new study from Fairleigh Dickinson University suggests that so-called birthers are far more numerous than previously thought. Sixty four percent of Republicans polled by the university’s PublicMind project said that it was “probably true” that Obama is hiding details of his personal history, including possibly his birth place. Also polled were the conspiracy theories that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job (25 percent of all respondents said that was “probably true”), that President Bush stole the 2004 election (23 percent), and that Obama stole the 2012 election (20 percent).
The survey found that 75 percent of Republicans believe at least one of the conspiracy theories that were polled, compared to 56 percent of Democrats who believed at least one of the four. Interestingly, while the overall likelihood of a respondent believing at least one of the conspiracies was inversely proportional to that individual’s knowledge of current events, Republicans who were more informed were also more likely to believe in the conspiracies.