Nearly a fifth of Americans wrongly think President Obama is Muslim, a number that has risen while Obama’s been in office, a poll from the Pew Research Center shows. The polling was done before Obama made comments in support of Muslims’ rights to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York. Obama’s religion and place of birth have long been the subject of Internet rumors, and remarkably, the rumors are gaining traction. Eighteen percent now believe he is Muslim, up from 12 percent when he ran for the presidency and 11 percent after he was inaugurated. Just 34 percent of Americans correctly said Obama was a Christian, down from about 50 percent when he was inaugurated. White House staffers blamed “misinformation campaigns” by Obama’s opponents for the perception. About 60 percent of those who say Obama is Muslim say they learned the information from the media.
Disinformation Yuri Gripas / Reuters