Poll: One in four Americans think Obama was not born in U.S.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall meeting at the North Virginia Community College April 19, 2011 in Annandale, Virginia. Obama discussed his vision for bringing down the deficit at the town hall meeting. GETTY

Barack Obama
GETTY
CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

A quarter of all Americans incorrectly think President Obama was not born in the United States, according to a new CBS News/ New York Times poll.

Among all Republicans, 45 percent believe he was born in another country, as do 45 percent of Tea Party supporters, the poll shows.

Since the start of Mr. Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, rumors have existed that he was born outside of the United States. The "birther" myth has steadily persisted through Mr. Obama's presidency, in spite of overwhelming evidence he was born in the United States -- including his 1961 birth announcement, printed in two Hawaii newspapers.

Businessman and television personality Donald Trump has pushed the issue into the spotlight in recent weeks, insisting that he is unconvinced of Mr. Obama's origins. While Trump has used the issue to bring more attention to his possible Republican presidential bid, other Republicans are trying to tamp down the "birther" talk.

House Tea Party Caucus Chairwoman Michele Bachmann said recently that it's time to "move on" from the issue. Additionally, Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer recently vetoed a bill, penned in response to questions about Mr. Obama's origins, that would have made Arizona the first state to require presidential candidates to provide proof of their birth before getting on the state ballot.

The myth seems fated to live on, however, as a new book will come out next month entitled, "Where's the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President."

While 25 percent of all Americans in this new poll say Mr. Obama was born outside the U.S., 57 percent correctly said he was born in the United States. Another 18 percent said they did not know where he was born. Among Republicans, 33 percent said Mr. Obama was born in the U.S., and 22 percent said they did not know. Thirty-four percent of Tea Party supporters said the president was born in the U.S., while 21 percent said they didn't know.

More from the poll: GOP's 2012 contenders unknown, unloved
PDF: Read the complete poll results


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,224adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone April 15-20, 2011. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. An oversample of Republicans was also conducted for this poll, for a total of 543 interviews among this group. The results were then weighted in proportion to the average party distributions in previous 2011 CBS News and CBS News/New York Times Polls and in the random sample in this poll. The margin of error for Republicans is plus or minus four percentage points.

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