Obama is a Muslim Misperception on the Rise

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Some interesting trends:

Nearly one in five people, or 18 percent, said they think Obama is Muslim, up from the 11 percent who said so in March 2009, according to a poll released Thursday. The proportion who correctly say he is a Christian is down to just 34 percent.

The largest share of people, 43 percent, said they don’t know his religion, an increase from the 34 percent who said that in early 2009.

My best guess is that we can just chalk this up to the general dynamic of recession-induced suspicion and incumbent unpopularity. But you have seen some efforts at the elite level to bolster this idea. For example, a couple of days ago Jon Chait noted Jennifer Rubin’s take at Commentary on the Park51 controversy which involved her saying that Obama’s “sympathies for the Muslim World take precedence over those, such as they are, for his fellow citizens. This is nothing short of an abomination.”

Chait noted that one ugly subtext here is that Muslims are—as such—not American, which is of course both false and also the kind of thing Commentary would be loudly and rightly objecting to if said about Jewish Americans. But the flipside is an effort to insinuate that Obama has insidious foreign/Muslim ties, albeit through rhetoric that’s a bit less crude than what you find at WorldNetDaily.