Another sign of the ultra-caffeinated times we inhabit: A new poll finds that a majority of Republican voters believe that ACORN helped Barack Obama steal the 2008 election for president. Public Policy Polling reports that just 27% of Republicans say that he won the presidency fair and square.

The ACORN conspiracy has also featured in the list of reasons that losing conservative candidate Doug Hoffman's unconcession offered to explain his defeat in the New York Congressional 23rd race. In a new letter to his backers, Hoffman wrote: "I'm sure you are as dismayed as I am to learn of the mischief that took place in Oswego and neighboring counties. We know this would not be the first time for the ACORN faithful to tamper with democracy."

Here's Robert Stacy McCain in the American Spectator picking up the complaint:

" Furthermore, the narrowing of the gap by more than 2,300 votes between the reported results on Election Night and the actual vote tally shows how misreporting can affect political outcomes. If the reported margin had been narrower -- and especially if the tallies in Oswego and Jefferson had been accurately reported -- Hoffman never would have conceded that night. Most of all, the discovery of the errors (or "mischief") in the vote-count makes it a near-certainty that Hoffman will challenge Owens in NY23 in 2010."

Shades of the 2000 presidential elections and its aftermath, anyone?

Hoffman's sour grapes notwithstanding, the more astonishing takeaway from the poll results is how quickly the conspiracists have made headway convincing mainstream GOP voters that something's rotten. Back in the spring, the birthers and tea party crowd portrayed the president as a usurper taking the country on the road to socialism, fascism or Nazism. Jon Stewart and the liberal blogging community had a field day lampooning that crowd during its more hyperventilated moments. But if the poll numbers are indeed accurate, it would suggest that conservative activists have made good on their ambition to delegitimize Barack Obama in the eyes of the rest of the Republican Party.

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    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.