Budget cutting
Politicized religion

Political vampires

Vampire.027Conspiracy theories are like vampires -- they never die.

Take, for example, the theory that Obama was not born in the U.S.

That one percolated along for years, fueled by the likes of Donald Trump, and only seemed to be put to rest when the White House released a copy of the president's long-form birth certificate.

Surveys taken immediately before and after the birth certificate's release showed an increase in people believing that Obama was born in the U.S.

                                "OBAMA WAS BORN IN THE U.S."

                                Before Release        After Release

True                           55%                        67%

False                           15%                       13%

Not Sure                     30%                       20%

The long form birth certificate, alas, was not exactly a wooden stake in the heart of that particular conspiracy theory.  Here are the same results as of last month.


                   Before Release     After Release     January 2012

True                   55%                      67%                 59%

False                  15%                      13%                 17%

Not Sure            30%                      20%                 24%

Of course, Republicans were much more likely to believe Obama wasn't born in the U.S., but even they backed off after the long form certificate was released (from 30% believing he was born in the U.S. to 47%).

But in both cases, the increase in people believing Obama was born in America did not come from those who were convinced he wasn't, but from those who were not sure. Before release of the birth certificate, 25% of Republicans didn't believe he was born here; after the certificate, 23% still did.

And in January 2012, the proportion of the general public believing Obama was born here was just a little higher than before his birth certificate was released. The proportion of Republicans who believe Obama was born somewhere else had increased to 37% -- even higher than before the long-form certificate was released and twice as high as the public as a whole.

If that isn't troubling enough for you, read the comments on the research from which these statistics are taken.  Obama, it seems, has the social security number of a man born in Connecticut. 

Rumors -- they're the vampires of American politics, blood-sucking and immortal.



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