Brad DeLong quoted a mystery reader as offering the following aperçu:
12% of the country still thinks Obama is a Muslim. 8% thinks he faked his birth certificate. The new Washpost/ABC poll says that 22% of the electorate id’s itself as GOP. Thus it is a fair inference that roughly half of declared Republicans are fringe lunatics–which explains why “respectable” conservative media outlets like National Review publish the Andy McCarthys and the Victor David Hansons, and why GOP politicians like Michelle Bachman and Steve King are now “mainstream” for the GOP.
I thought that was funny, but Brendan Nyhan points out that it doesn’t seem to be true: “The most recent Pew poll shows that 17% of Republican believe Obama is a Muslim — not 50% — along with 10% of independents and 7% of Democrats.”
To me, the striking thing about the poll isn’t so much the number of people who think Obama’s a Muslim (around 10 percent of people will apparently believe anything) as it is the truly huge proportion of the population who seems to be agnostic on the subject. Only 48 percent of Americans think Obama’s a Christian! Which is surprising not so much because of the ignorance it reveals as for the fact that I would have thought you need to get your Christian Q Rating considerably higher than that to win an election.